The Assembly in Sardis

Geographical Location / Historical Background:

The Acropolis

Known biblically as the home of the church that received the fifth of letters to the seven churches in Revelation, Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and one of the greatest cities of the ancient world.  Here is where the greeks develop the legend of “King Midas and his Golden Touch”.

Located on the banks of the Pactolus River, Sardis was 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century.

The city was of very ancient origin. Herodotus (i., 84) gives the account of its siege and capture by Cyrus, and of its previous fortification by an old king, Meles. It was ruled by a series of able princes, the last of whom was Croesus, celebrated for his wealth and his misfortunes. In the earlier part of his reign, he extended his dominion over the whole of Asia Minor, with the exception of Lycia and Cilicia. The Lydian rule was terminated by the conquest of Cyrus. From the Persians, it passed into the hands of Alexander the Great, after which, for the next three hundred years, its fortunes are obscure. In b.c. 214 it was taken and sacked by Antiochus the Great after a siege of two years. The kings of Pergamus next succeeded to the dominion, and from them, it passed into the hands of the Romans.

In the time of Tiberius, it was desolated by an earthquake, together with eleven or twelve other important cities of Asia, and the calamity was increased by a pestilence.

Sardis was in very early times an important commercial city. It was a city intersected by five different important roads that lead to a great commercial, political, social, and economic growth.  Pliny says that the art of dyeing wool was invented there, and it was the entrepôt of the dyed woolen manufactures, carpets, etc., the raw material for which was furnished by the flocks of Phrygia. It was also the place where the metal electrum was procured. Gold was found in the bed of the Pactolus. Silver and gold coins are said to have been first made there, and it was at one time known as a slave-mart. The impure worship of the goddess Cybele was celebrated there, and the massive ruins of her temple are still to be seen. The city is now a heap of ruins. In 1850 no human being found a dwelling there.

Inside the Text:

(Rev 3:1 LITV)  And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis, write: These things says the One having the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have the name that you live, and are dead.

As we had seen before on other assemblies, the Lord GOD called the angel assigned to the delivery of this particular letter for this particular assembly.  This is very important because it tells us that God has angels with specifics jobs to whom he trusts the most intricate jobs.  In antiquity, message was sent using specific messengers, and not everyone could be a messenger, due to many reasons;

  • The particular messenger needed to present specifics characteristics for the job, such as:
    • Honor/Trust
      • The messenger was trusted with the important task of delivering a message in a timely manner without hesitation and or distraction, without any alteration of the message entrusted to him. In many occasions the message was memorized by the messenger due to the importance of such task, many of these messengers were captured and tortured to give away the message of the main source.  Many times the message was contained in a document seal by the authority that issued such message, such seal was made of wax or another type of substance with the caption of the authority ring in question.  If this particular seal was broken before it got to the source the message will be counted as avoid message and could cost the messager’s life.
    • Speed
      • Many of the messages were time sensitive, whether it was because the time of war, agreements among kingdoms, events, dates and so on. The messenger was forced to battle with many outside forces such as the weather, thieves, transportation issues, geographical and or terrain challenges, sickness and much
    • Security
      • The messenger was capable of being entrusted with the important task of delivering the message to the person(s) destined to receive it and no one else.
    • Tracking
      • A good messenger was capable of traveling light without instruments and capable of having extensive knowledge of the known terrain, stars, and navigational marine waters if applicable to delivering the message to its destination and be back to the original source.
    • Extremely good physical and emotional endurance

In the verse, we can observe how the Lord GOD as clear as He is, make a pause in the sentence and indicates the command to John the Apostle to write what will be dictated to him.  Why am I very specific at this particular point?  Thi is because normally and in many occasions I had heard many clergies, pastors, and others saying that this is in reference to the Pastor of the assembly when in fact the Lord God is not doing so, but instead calling the angel (messenger) that will be taking the letter to the assembly without any hesitation.  I am not taking away any power to the leaders of the assemblies, but if you well know, the Lord Jesus Himself said that there is no one higher than any other in the Body of Christ and as a result of this I am discarding such possibility.  But this is not a point to dedicate too much time to it because, whether is and angel  (messenger) or the leader of the assembly or whoever it is, the important point is that the message must be delivered.

The Apostle John continues writing what is presented to him in the vision, …” These things says the One having the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars”…

It is very important to notice how the Lord God uses these descriptive views for His presentation to the assembly as if they will know in an instant who He (The Almighty) is.  This particular name it has been seeing before and if you read the Old Testament you must be familiar with it, read below, please;

(Isa 11:1 LITV)  And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch will bear fruit out of his roots.

(Isa 11:2 LITV)  And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; He will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.

On the above passage, you can see how the how the Lord is described by the Holy Spirit.  There is something very important pay attention on the above descriptive passage of the Lord God, and that is that these “spirits” are what is known as the “Seven Manifestation of the Holy Spirit”.  This is due to the fact that the Holy Spirit was not among the human but until the Lord Jesus was taking to the Right Hand of GOD.

(Act 1:8 LITV)  but you will receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be witnesses of Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

(Act 1:9 LITV)  And saying these things, as they looked on, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him from their sight.

There are seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit to be known on the verse of Isaiah 11:2 and those are as follow:

  1. Spirit of Jehova
  2. Spirit of Wisdom
  3. Spirit of Understanding
  4. Spirit of Counsel
  5. Spirit of Power
  6. Spirit of Knowledge
  7. Spirit of Fear Jehova

The phrase is also located in the below verse;

Rev_3:1  And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis, write: These things says the One having the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have the name that you live, and are dead.

Rev_4:5  And out of the throne come forth lightnings and thunders and voices. And seven lamps of fire are burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

Rev_5:6  And I saw, and behold, in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, was a Lamb standing, as having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, having been sent out into all the earth.

Another important point to notice is that the number seven is thought to be a divine number, but there is no such a thing, for example:

  1. Rev 13:1
    1. Beast of the Sea with seven heads
  2. Rev 12:3 ; 17:3 ; 17:7
    1. Red Dragon with Seven Heads and Seven Diadems
  3. Rev 17:10
    1. Seven Kings
  4. Rev 17:9
    1. Seven Mountains

The descriptive name of the Seven Stars could be found also in Revelation 1:16; Rev 1:20; Rev 2:11.  The number seven is the number of perfection or completion.

The Lord God continues in the verse assuring the assembly of Sardis that HE (Lord God) knows the work of the assembly.  But do you know what kind of work is God referring to?

G2041

ἔργον   (ergon )er’-gon

From ἔργω ergō (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.

Total KJV occurrences: 176

Read the below verses on how it is used in some parts of the scripture;

Exo_23:24  You shall not bow down to their gods, and you shall not serve them. And you shall not do according to their works. But tearing you shall tear them down, and smashing you shall smash their pillars.

Num_8:24  This is that which pertains to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward he shall go in to do the service and the works of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Num_16:28  And Moses said, By this you shall know that Jehovah has sent me to do all these works, and that not from my own heart.

1Ch_16:9  Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; tell of all His marvelous works.

Psa_33:15  He forms the heart; He understands all their works.

Jer_25:6  And do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no harm.

Amo_8:7  Jehovah has sworn by the Pride of Jacob, Surely I will not ever forget all their works.

Mat_11:2  But hearing in the prison of the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples,

We can conclude by this review that GOD is referring here to the term “works” is to their actions and their devotion to the Creator of all things.  We as Christians can’t serve two Masters.

Mat_4:10  Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it has been written: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve Him only.” Deut. 6:13

Mat_6:24  No one is able to serve two lords; for either he will hate the one, and he will love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and he will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and wealth.

The assembly of Sardis was found deficient on her “works” for the Lord, and if we substitute that word for the following words; “Life devoted to the Lord” noticed how the verse will make more sense to you, but why this word and not another word?  You might ask, well that is because if you are a believer in Christ and of course a “Follower of the WAY”, you must understand that Jesus Christ died for us all on the Cross and His Blood covers all our sins.  None, and I mean no one under the grace is save by their works nor by their actions or neither any other reason other than the total devotional life to the Lord Jesus Christ, read below:

(Rom 8:5 LITV)  For the ones that are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh. And the ones according to Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.

(Rom 8:6 LITV)  For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;

(Rom 8:7 LITV)  because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God; for it is not being subjected to the Law of God, for neither can it be.

(Rom 8:8 LITV)  And those being in the flesh are not able to please God.

(Rom 8:9 LITV)  But you are not in flesh, but in Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, this one is not His.

(Rom 8:10 LITV)  But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

(Rom 8:11 LITV)  But if the Spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One having raised the Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of His Spirit in you.

(Rom 8:12 LITV)  So, then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to flesh,

(Rom 8:13 LITV)  for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.

(Rom 8:14 LITV)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

You must remember that this letter was directed to the believers under the “Grace” and not to the Jews under the “LAW”.

(Pro 3:5 LITV)  Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.

(Pro 3:6 LITV)  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

(Pro 3:7 LITV)  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear Jehovah and depart from evil.

(Pro 3:8 LITV)  Healing shall be to your navel and marrow to your bones.

(Pro 3:9 LITV)  Honor Jehovah with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase,

And again, only by “Faith” we can see God and obtain “Grace” for Salvation trough our Lord Jesus Christ:

Tit_3:7  that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Heb_10:29  how much worse punishment do you think will be thought worthy to receive, the one trampling the Son of God, and having counted common the blood of the covenant in which he was sanctified, and having insulted the Spirit of Grace?

2Co_6:1  But working together, we also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

2Co_8:1  But, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given among the assemblies of Macedonia,

(Rev 3:1 LITV)  And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis, write: These things says the One having the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have the name that you live, and are dead.

The Lord in His letter to the assembly declare how the name of the assembly brings the message of life, but on the other hand, she is dead.  That is a real painful declaration of truth.  It is like if this particular assembly doesn’t know her own reality.  Appear to be as if the assembly has a different idea of what really is in the eyes of the Lord.

Let’s see this from the perspective of the historical view:

This is an assembly that is identified as a mediocre or complacency in the eyes of the Lord.  If the past assembly (the assembly of Thyatira) was identified as an assembly that allowed false teachings and doctrines, in this case, is even worst.  That is, of course, assuming that one sin is worst than other when in reality sin is sin no matter how big or small could be, and the result is to be dead in front of the eyes of the Lord God, that is unless you repent through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

If we plot a timeline from beginning to this time (time in where this assembly of Sardis is present in history) that will show that Sardis correspond (based on my research and personal opinion) to the “Reformation Period” and the one before this one (assembly of Thyatira) corresponded to the development, influence and merging of the Christian Faith with the Pagan traditions of the Roman Catholic church.

During the period of the Reformation, there were many great things brought to light and in favor of the Christian Faith but at the same time, many other things did not touch and in many instances were totally ignored.  For a review of history, in particular, the “Reformation Period”, click on the link below to view the Reformation in a nutshell.

(Click in this link if you like to have a crash course of the Reformation in a nutshell. This video was created by a third party and is intended for general public view.)

In the verse, the Lord Jesus tell the assembly that is has a name that lives but is dead. This particular phrase in the verse makes very clear how this particular assembly is directly linked to the “Reformation”, it is a name of living and coming in a profound action of life but the Lord make very clear that instead it is dead.  This is a very notorious point in particular if you know your history.  The reformation made a great job clarifying and delivering the point of Salvation by Faith and not through works, but many other important points were either ignored, forgotten or even thrown to the past.

We must remember that all men hearts are incurable of sins and that the only way the men could be saved is through the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Jer 17:9 LITV

(9)  The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is incurable; who can know it?

Mat 7:20-23 LITV

(20)  Then surely from their fruits you shall know them.

(21)  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of My Father in Heaven.

(22)  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power?

(23)  And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; “depart from Me, those working lawlessness!” Psa. 6:8

Rev 3:2 LITV

(2)  Be watching, and establish the things left, which are about to die. For I have not found your works being fulfilled before God.

The Lord continue and advised to the assembly to be watchful and diligent and to establish the things left, which are about to die because the Lord had not found the service offered to God from the assembly to be fulfilling as it should be.  Remember that the “Reformation” did many things good and woke the mind of the regular men to question many things that before were in the hands of just a few clerics.  At the same time, it did not put an end to the false doctrines, heresy pagan culture infiltration to the church and so on.

Rev 3:3 LITV

(3)  Then remember how you received and heard, and keep, and repent. If, then, you do not watch, I will come upon you like a thief and you will not at all know what hour I come upon you.

Lord God bring to the memory of the assembly how she received and heard, and keep, and repent.  Let’s take a look at these particular order of points in this sentence.

  • Received:

Rom 3:9-24 LITV

(9)  What then? Do we excel? Not at all! For we have charged both Jews and Greeks before, all with being under sin;

(10)  according as it has been written, “There is not a righteous one, not even one!”

(11)  “There is not one understanding; there is not one seeking God.”

(12)  All turned away, they became worthless together, not one is doing goodness, not so much as one!” LXX-Psa. 13:1-3

(13)  “Their throat is a tomb being opened;” “they used deceit with their tongues; the poison of asps is under their lips;

(14)  whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

(15)  Their feet are swift to shed blood;

(16)  ruin and misery are in their way;

(17)  and they did not know a way of peace;

(18)  there is no fear of God before their eyes.” LXX-Psa. 5:10; 139:4; 9:28; Isa. 59:7, 8; Psa. 35:2; MT-Psa. 14:1-3; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; Isa. 59:7, 8; Psa. 36:1

(19)  But we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those within the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgment to God.

(20)  Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through Law is full knowledge of sin. Psa. 143:2

(21)  But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

(22)  even the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ toward all and upon all those believing; for there is no difference,

(23)  for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(24)  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

  • Heard

Rom 10:16-21 LITV

(16)  But not all obeyed the gospel, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Isa. 53:1

(17)  Then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God.

(18)  But I say, Did they not hear? Yes, rather, “into all the earth their voice went out, and to the ends of the world their words.” LXX-Psa. 18:5; MT-Psa. 19:4

(19)  But I say, Did not Israel know? First, Moses says, “I will provoke you to jealousy by a non-nation, by an unwise nation I will anger you.” Deut. 32:21

(20)  But Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those not seeking Me; I became known to those not inquiring after Me.” Isa. 65:1

(21)  But to Israel He says, “All the day I stretched out My hands to a disobeying and contradicting people.” Isa. 65:2

  • Keep

Rom 11:17-25 LITV

(17)  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree were grafted in among them, and became a sharer of the root and the fatness of the olive tree,

(18)  do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you that bears the root, but the root bears you.

(19)  You will say then, The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.

(20)  Well! For unbelief they were broken off. And you stand by faith. Do not be highminded, but fear.

(21)  For if God did not spare the natural branches, fear that it may be He will not spare you either.

(22)  Behold, then, the kindness and severity of God: On those having fallen, severity. But on you, kindness, if you continue in the kindness. Otherwise, you will also be cut off.

(23)  And those also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again.

(24)  For if you were cut out of the natural wild olive tree, and against nature were grafted into a good olive tree, how much more these being according to nature will be grafted into their own olive tree?

(25)  For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be wise within yourselves, that hardness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the nations comes in;

  • Repent

Joh 3:14-21 LITV

(14)  And even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

(15)  that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(16)  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(17)  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

(18)  The one believing into Him is not condemned; but the one not believing has already been condemned, for he has not believed into the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(19)  And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their works were evil.

(20)  For everyone practicing wickedness hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, that his works may not be exposed.

(21)  But the one doing the truth comes to the Light, that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.

In verse 3 there is also a conditional clue to the assembly;

…”If, then, you do not watch,”…

In the plan of salvation, there is since the beginning of time a “Free Will” in where no one is obligated to accept it but only if they feel to render their total desire of submission to the Lord Jesus Christ.  As you know for every decision there is also consequences that we carry with it, lone term or for the short term, but they are part of every one of our decision making in life.  Ther is no exception here if you desire not to watch.  What is watching?  And how do you watch? What tool do you use to watch?

  • What is the meaning of “watching” ?
    • This is the action on becoming vigilant before, during and after a declaration of war
      • Exo_10:10 And he said to them, May Jehovah be so with you, as I send you away, and your little ones. Watch! For evil is before your face!
      • Deu_4:15 Therefore you shall carefully watch over your souls, for you have not seen any likeness in the day Jehovah spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire,
      • Mat 25:13 LITV
      • (13) Therefore, watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man comes.
  • How do you watch?
    • You do so by reading the WORD of GOD, by Prayer, and total submission to the Lord’s Will
      • 1Th_5:6 So then, we should not sleep, as the rest also do, but we should watch and be sober.
      • Heb_13:17 Yield to those taking the lead of you, and submit, for they watch for your souls, giving an account, that they may do this with joy, and not with grieving; for this would be unprofitable to
      • Rom 10:16-17 LITV
      • (16) But not all obeyed the gospel, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 53:1
      • (17) Then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God.
      • 2Ch_19:6 and said to the judges, Watch what you are doing, for you shall not judge for man, but for Jehovah, and He is with you in the matter of judgment;
      • Neh_4:9 But we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
      • Mat_16:6 And Jesus said to them, Watch and take heed from the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
      • Mat_24:42 Watch, then, for you do not know in what hour your Lord comes.
  • What tool do you use to watch?
    • Prayers
    • Word of GOD
    • Assuming a Total Submission to the Lord’s Will

There is parable in the Book of Mathew chapter 25 (The Ten Virgins) that will help you to understand this passage in a better way and should be used to study this assembly with a more clear view.  And as a matter of fact the next phrase in verse 3 of this assembly is used almost in a literate way, let’s see;

Rev 3:3 LITV

  • (3) Then remember how you received and heard, and keep, and repent. If, then, you do not watch, I will come upon you like a thief and you will not at all know what hour I come upon you.

Mat 25:13 LITV

  • (13) Therefore, watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man comes.

Rev 3:4 LITV

  • (4)  You also have a few names in Sardis which did not defile their robes, and they shall walk with Me in white because they are worthy.

Here the Lord indicates that there are “few names in Sardis”that have done what is right under the same circumstances.  Let’s say that those that are of the Sardis assembly have gone throughout the same difficulties and calamities, then the question remain; why are there some of those members that have not defile their garments, are they stronger? Are they better? Are they tested under different standards? Do they have a better tool to deal with the aggression?  What make them not to defile their garments?  The answers to all of those questions are NO!  They were from the same assembly, they had the same tools to defend themselves, they were at the same level and capacity (at least it is implied) but based on the Word of GOD the difference is that those that were incapable to defile their garments were not just watchful but also diligent in every way possible.

Applying this to history, while the “Reformation”, there some of those labels, denominations or even names if you want to call them so, that were trying their hardest not to fall again under the merging with pagan customs nor with their own interpretation of the Word of GOD, but instead kept themselves above the level of the others.

Notice the clear reward given to them that does not defile their ropes; …“they shall walk with Me in white because they are worthy”…

Those will be walking with the Lord in white just because they (the ones that do not defile their ropes/they maintained their ropes in white waiting for the Master) were worthy of such reward, read the below references:

Mat_7:21  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of My Father in Heaven.

Mat_7:22  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power?

Mat_25:11  And afterward, the rest of the virgins also came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

Luk_6:46  And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?

Luk_13:25  From the time the Master of the house shall have risen up, and He shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. And answering, He will say to you, I do not know you, from where you are.

Rev 3:5 LITV

(5)  The one overcoming, this one shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not at all blot his name out of the Book of Life; and I will acknowledge his name before My Father, and before His angels.

 

The next verse is about the “overcoming” and what he/she reward will receive once the task has being fulfilled.  It is clear that such reward is exactly what the ones referred as “few names in Sardis” were given.  There is also a very important statement from the Lord about the ones that will continue the battle without defiling their garments and that is that HE will not blot his (the ones not defiling their garments) name out of the Book of Life.

Psa_69:28  Blot them out from the Book of Life; yea, let them not be written with the righteous.

Rev_20:12 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works.

Rev_20:15  And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Rev_21:27  And all profaning may not at all enter into it, or any making an abomination or a lie; but only the ones having been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb.

Rev_22:19  And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and of the things having been written in this Book.

It does also say that the Lord Jesus Himself will acknowledge him in front of His Father (God Creator/YHWH) and in front of His angels.  This will make it official and public among all Creation that that person saved by the Blood of Jesus on the Cross and did not defile his garment is part of the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is a promise that since the beginning of time was made through Jesus our Lord, read below;

Luk_12:9  But he that denies me before man shall be denied before the angels of God.

1Ti_5:8  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Tit_2:12  instructing us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly and righteously and godly in the present age,

Rev_3:8  I know your works. Behold, I have given a door being opened before you, and no one is able to shut it, for you have a little power and have kept My Word, and have not denied My name.

Rev 3:6 LITV

(6)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

This last verse for this assembly is directed to everyone, those that have an ear, to hear;

shama: to hear

Original Word: שָׁמַע
Part of Speech: verb feminine; verb masculine
Transliteration: shama
Phonetic Spelling: (shaw-mah’)
Short Definition: heard

G191

ἀκούω; akouō (ak-oo’-o)

A primary verb; to hear (in various senses): – give (in the) audience (of), come (to the ears), ([shall]) hear (-er, -ken), be noised, be reported, understand.

Total KJV occurrences: 437

This particular verb / word means to obey / to listen attentively / keep on listening / listening obediently.

What the Spirit (this is the Holy Spirit of GOD) says to the assemblies (assemblies is a plural word/indicative that this command is for all the assemblies in the writing)

Finally, I must ask you to be diligent and watchful at all times in Prayer and knowledge of the Word of GOD for whenever the moment of battle you will be empowered with all the Armour of GOD and you will not defile your garments.

Share this Blog and continue to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and Lord.

(Click on this link to watch this video by Chuck Missler in regard to the Assembly of Sardis.)

GOD Bless You All!  The Lord Jesus is Coming Soon!

Below are coupled images of Sardis the actual location and possible overview.

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The Assembly of Thyatira

The Assembly of Thyatira

Historical and Geographical Background:

Situated on the confines of Mysia and Ionia. According to Pliny it was known in earlier times as Pelopia and Euhippia.  The city was known as “Pelopia” (Greek language: Πελοπία), but it was named Thyateira (Θυάτειρα) by king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC. He was at war with Lysimachus when he learned that his wife had given birth to a daughter. Its prosperity received a new impulse under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. The city contained a number of corporate guilds, as potters, tanners, weavers, robe-makers, and dyers. It was from Thyatira that Lydia the purple-seller of Philippi came, Paul’s first European convert, (Read the following;

Act_16:14  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one reverencing God, listened, whose heart the Lord opened thoroughly to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul.

Act_16:40  And going out from the prison, they went into the house of Lydia. And seeing the brothers, they exhorted them, and went out.).

The numerous streams of the adjacent country were full of leeches. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, worshipped as the Sun-God under the surname Tyrimnas. A shrine outside the walls was dedicated to Sambatha, a sibyl. The place was never of paramount political importance.

 

colossae Patmos Island
Illustrated Map of the Patmos Island and the Seven Assemblies.

Map of the Asia Minor area with location of Thyatira

Religious Background:

Nicator named it “Thyatira” (Greek, “thygater”, for daughter) on being informed that a daughter had been born to him.  Thyateira (also Thyatira) was the name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar (“white castle”). The name comes from Koine Greek “Θυάτειρα” (Thuateira). The Turkish equivalent of Thyateira is Tepe Mezarlığı, meaning hill graveyard.

This city became well known for the center for trade guilds.  Memberships were compulsory and also essentials for the privileged and purpose of trading.  Corporate bodies, well organized must add, providing few benefits and taking actions in their interests.  Each guild was under the patronage of a pagan deity, to whom were paid proceedings, feast and in other meaningful manner every year to that particular pagan deity.  The believer must be a participant of the pagan activity which also had an essential appeal to the flesh.  This was very difficult to the new believer in Christ because there is only One God and Savior, Jesus Christ the Only Lord and Way.

In 1922, the Patriarch of Constantinople appointed an Exarch for Western and Central Europe with the title Archbishop of Thyateira. The current Archbishop of Thyateira (since 1988) is Gregorios Theocharous. The Archbishop of Thyateira resides in London and has pastoral responsibility for the Greek Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.  The see of Thyatira is also included, without archiepiscopal rank, in the Catholic Church’s list of titular sees.

This particular assembly represent the medieval papacy (600 A.D. to 1500 A.D.).  Among all the seven assemblies, this particular one was the least of them in a geographical area (size of the city was the smallest among the seven assemblies) but the longest of the letters dictated by the Lord to John.

The Assembly:

Let’s start with the Bible Study of this particular assembly.

Rev 2:18

(18)  And to the angel of the assembly in Thyatira, write: These things says the Son of God, the One having His eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like burnished brass:

In the previous verse please notice once again, as in the past messages send by the Lord to the other assemblies that he called his angel that have the specific task of the delivery of this message or letter.  As always this is very important because the Lord is confining this important task to someone that He can trust and knows will not let Him down during the process of the delivery of the letter.  There a few remarkable moments described by the Bible in where some of the messengers of the Lord had been intercepted by the devil and it has been trying in a delivery manner by the devil, to interfered and intercept such message, to either stop totally the delivery or delay until the very last minute such delivery. It is why the Lord name specifically angels for the delivery of messages.  Here is an example of this event;

Dan 10:12-13

(12)  And he said to me, Do not fear, Daniel. For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come because of your words.

(13)  But the king of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty one days. But, lo, Michael, one of the first rulers, came to help me. And I stayed there with the kings of Persia.

In the same command voice the Lord said… “, write”…  This particular command was designated to John, whose is used by the Lord as a scribed for the message.

The Lord God continues His dictation to John by saying the following;…” These things says the Son of God, the One having His eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like burnished brass:”, and the first thing you must noticed is the pluralistic term God uses at the beginning of the message in relation to the different subjects He wants us to know. Right after the Lord is described as (the below charts are based on the LITV Bible (Literal Translation of the Bible) (you will find this translation on http://www.e-Sword.net this is a trusted and completely free of charge software)):

The Son of GOD

36 verses found, 37 matches

Matthew 5 verses found 5 matches
Mark 2 verses found 2 matches
Luke 4 verses found 4 matches
John 7 verses found 7 matches
Acts 2 verses found 2 matches
Romans 1 verse found 1 match
2 Corinthians 1 verse found 1 match
Galatians 1 verse found 1 match
Ephesians 1 verse found 1 match
Hebrews 4 verses found 4 matches
1 John 7 verses found 8 matches
Revelation 1 verse found 1 match

the One having His eyes as a flame of fire

1 verse found, 1 match

Revelation 1 verse found 1 match

His feet like burnished brass

2 verses found, 2 matches

Revelation 2 verses found 2 matches

 

These are all attributes that only you can find them under the New Testament.

(Rev 2:19)  I know your works, and the love, and the ministry, and the faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last being more than the first.

In the above verse the Lord started by indicating the positive points of the assembly of Thyatira.  Keep in mind that the Lord always see us for what we are and how we are.

The first He mentioned is that the Lord knows her “works”, but also noticed how in this particular translation the last word is also the one that is at the beginning of this assembly positives points.  There is a big difference among the two, and that is that the first one is about their labor in the field of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Toil
    1. (Verb) work extremely hard or incessantly.

“We toiled away”

  • (Synonyms) work hard, labor, exert oneself, slave (away), grind away, strive, work one’s fingers to the bone, put one’s nose to the grindstone.
  • (Noun) exhausting physical labor.

“a life of toil”

  • (Synonyms) hard work, labor, exertion, slaving, drudgery, effort, industry, ‘blood, sweat, and tears.

G2041  (ἔργον / ergon)

er’-gon

From ἔργω ergō (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.

Total KJV occurrences: 176

And the second one is in regard to the “deeds” of the assembly, this is very noticeable when the Lord indicated that “…the last being more than the first…”.  All of these attributes are connected to the “fruits of the Spirit”;

Gal_5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,

Eph_5:9  For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,

  • Love
    1. G26 ἀγάπη / agapē

ag-ah’-pay

From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

Total KJV occurrences: 116

  • Ministry
    1. G1248 διακονία / diakonia

dee-ak-on-ee’-ah

From G1249; attendance (as a servant, etc.); figuratively (eleemosynary) aid, (official) service (especially of the Christian teacher, or technically of the diaconate): – (ad-) minister (-ing, -tration, -try), office, relief, service (-ing).

Total KJV occurrences: 34

  • Faith
    1. G4102 πίστις / pistis

pis’-tis

From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Total KJV occurrences: 244

  • Patience
    1. G5281 ὑπομονή / hupomonē

hoop-om-on-ay’

From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Total KJV occurrences: 32

  • Works ( this particular used of this word at the end of the attributes of this assembly are more like “Deeds”).

In all these attributable gifts given by the Lord to this assembly, they were working in conjunction, none of them bigger than the other, until…

Thyatira Positive Elements (Click on this link to see the Graphic on the Positive Elements of Thyatira assembly)

(Rev 2:20 LITV)  But I have a few things against you, that you allow the woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My slaves to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol sacrifices.

Now here is the only point that this particular assembly neglected:

Enabling outside sources to infiltrate into the cell of the Body of Christ (please notice that I am indicating this as a “cell of the Body of Christ” and not the “Body of Christ”) and not stopping such actions.  As a result of enabling this outside intervention of this woman, a chaos was created and the gears of the Gospel were not turning properly if so.  Some of the consequences of this inadvertent event are:

    1. Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.

“Huss was burned for heresy”

  1. Synonyms: dissension, dissent, nonconformity, heterodoxy, unorthodoxy, apostasy, blasphemy, freethinking; agnosticism, atheism, nonbelief; idolatry, paganism

“an age in which scientists were often accused of heresy”

  1. Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.
  • Implosion of the cell of the Body of Christ
  • Distrust
  • Ignorance purposely or inadvertently of the Word of God
    1. Unavailability of the Holy Spirit for the understanding the Word of God (Holy Bible)
  • Spiritual fornication which is one of the most difficult sins to be recognized by the human mind when is out of the influence of the Holy spirit
  • Co-participating with the idol sacrifices
  • Many more

Let’s have a review of who was “Jezebel”:

There is a total of 20 verses with 23 matches of her name in the Holy Bible, indicating to us how important is to understand the When, Why and How of Jezebel.

1st King16:31 talks about how this particular woman became part of the history of Israel (Northern Kingdom).  Ahab (Omri’s son (Omri was the king that the people of the Northern Kingdom considered to be the founder of such, even though there were kings before him)) after becoming the king of Israel married a “Sidonian Princess” with the name of “Jezebel” and by doing so, Ahab offers his loyalty and worshiping to their deity “Baal”.

The queen Jezebel wanting to keep her religious believe among the people of Israel, demanded to replace all in the high places of the kingdom the altars from the ones dedicated to “YHWH” and in place of them to put the ones belong to Ba’al and was dedicated to eradicating the worshiping to “YHWH” in the land of Israel by also killing the prophets of GOD, read 1st King 18:4, 1st King 18:13.  It is amazing to me, the kind of demonic spirit this woman was posses with that Elijah (the prophet of GOD) was not afraid of confronting the false prophets from Ba’al, nor the army but with a single treat from this woman Elijah escaped trembling and hiding in a cave, read 1st King 19:2.

During this time, there was a farmer with a small but beautiful vineyard, his name was Naboth and who was a man of God.  The Ahab desired Naboth vineyard but unable to acquire it, his wife Jezebel promised to him (Ahab) to get the vineyard as a present for him.  Utilizing many non-legal and non-truthful ways had the people of Israel stoning Naboth and as a result of the death of him the property passed to Ahab’s hands, read 1st King 21:5 – 1st King 21:15.

It was not until GOD Himself demanded from His prophet Elijah to hit the road and to understand that He had many more of His prophets to do the task if it was necessary, to talk to the king Ahab.  In conclusion, Jezebel was push out of the window of her palace and ate by the dogs, read 1st King 21:23, 2nd King 9:10 – 2nd King 9:37.

Background on the City of Zidon (Sidon) and their deity Ba’al:

The city flourished as part of a loose confederacy of city-states spread along the coast of the land of Canaan. Although they shared “a common linguistic, cultural, and religious inheritance, the region was very rarely politically united, with each city operating as a sovereign state ruled over by a king or local dynast” (Miles, 26). This brought Sidon into competition with the other states of Phoenicia for trade and, especially, with the city of Tyre. In the 10th century BCE, the balance of power shifted to Tyre primarily due to the leadership of that city’s kings, Abibaal and, after him, his son Hiram. Tyre forged trade agreements with the newly minted kingdom of Israel-Judah and her king David. This agreement made Tyre wealthy and Sidon, trying to compete, entered into their own pacts with the kingdom of Israel including the marriage of the Sidonian princess Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, to King Ahab of Israel (a story famous from the Bible). Jezebel’s insistence on maintaining her own religion and personal identity was an affront to a number of Ahab’s subjects and, most notably, the prophet Elijah who denounced her. Jezebel and Ahab’s rule was ended by a coup by the general Jehu and, with it, Sidonian trade agreements with Israel.

The Purple dye is what gave the Phoenicians their name from the Greeks, Phoinkes, and meaning `the purple people’ and although it would come to be commonly associated with the city of Tyre, its manufacture was originally at Sidon.

baal1
Ba’al was a Phoenician deity that among other powers attributed to him were being judge of the gods, the lord of the wind and weather, controller of the rain, storm, thunder and lighting.  It was also attributed to him the renewal of the vegetation every year.

There are a few things in common with this particular assembly and Jezebel:

  1. They were knowledgeable of the purple dye process /trade
  2. They were not unaware nor ignorant of the Word of GOD
  3. They were given the gift of repentance for them to take the step forward and recognize their sinning life
  4. Jezebel was brought to be part of the People of GOD / Thyatira were a cell of the Body of Christ
  5. The Chaldean priest who interpreted the esoteric doctrines of the Babylonians mysteries was called “Peter”, The Catholic church foundation of their principles is that their founder was the apostle “Peter” (by no means I am implying that the apostle Peter is not an apostle of the Lord Jesus, but in the other hand is one of the most important apostle for the Body of Christ).
  6. The insignia wore by the Babylonian priest above mentioned had two keys; one for the deity Janus and the other for Cybele. The Catholic Church have both symbols on the arms of the Papal garment symbolizing spiritual authority.
  7. The danger to Thyatira assembly came not by the persecution from the gentile world nor by the animosity of the Jewish attitudes, but instead came from within and so the same for the people of the kingdom of Israel when they brought such Jezebel to their lives.
  8. Jezebel acquired by “inquisition” Naboth’s vineyard and during the medieval the Catholic Church did so including the “Dark Ages” period.

(Rev 2:21 LITV)  And I gave time to her that she might repent of her fornication. And she did not repent.

(Rev 2:22 LITV)  Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and into great affliction those committing adultery with her, unless they repent of their works.

The same way God offered to Jezebel the opportunity to repent, so He is doing with the members of the cell of the Body of Christ from the Assembly of Thyatira.

Joh 3:14-18 LITV

(14)  And even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

(15)  that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(16)  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(17)  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

(18)  The one believing into Him is not condemned; but the one not believing has already been condemned, for he has not believed into the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Notice how the Lord indicate, He will throw Jezebel “into a bed”, this particular expression is an expression of pain and immobilization, as if she will be a “disable/handicap” woman.  If you remember the Jezebel in the narrative from the Book of Kings was thrown from the castle window and the dogs ate her to the point of no recognition, but of course that was her physical body.  There is a second death and that is where the subject has no choice in the matter and no more opportunities are offer.

The Lord continue saying how He will put into “Great Affliction” those committing adultery with her.

Please notice how the Lord is using the verb “committing”, as an indicative of a continual and present action of the verb, indicative that those are the ones not repenting for their actions as Jezebel did.

The other important point to observe here is the point of the terms “”Great Affliction” = “Great Tribulation”:

  1. Great = G3173 μέγας – megas
    1. meg’-as
      1. Including the prolonged forms, femine μεγάλη megalē, plural μέγάλοι megaloi, etc.; compare also G3176, G3187], big (literally or figuratively, in a very wide application): – (+ fear) exceedingly, great (-est), high, large, loud, mighty, + (be) sore (afraid), strong, X to years.
      2. Total KJV occurrences: 195
    2. Affliction = G2347 θλίψις – thlipsis
      1. thlip’-sis
        1. From G2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): – afflicted, (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
        2. Total KJV occurrences: 45

This particular term is not used but only for the moment in where the biggest event in human history will take place other than the “Coming of the Lord” of course.  This cannot be confuse with a tribulation, nor with a difficulties, nor for that matter with problems, under no circumstances should be so, but understand this is what is called in the Bible “The Great Tribulation”.  Unless of course they will repent of their actions, then and only then they will not go thru such event.

Rev 2:23 LITV

(23)  And I will kill her children with death; and all the assemblies will know that I am the One searching the inner parts and hearts. And I will give to each of you according to your works.

The Lord make very clear that the punishment for her children will be death, such sin cannot have any root left, must be taken completely out of the heart of the Body of Christ.  Look the way the Lord indicate how “all the assemblies”, as a plural noun, expressing that this will apply not just to the Thyatira assembly, which is this letter send to but to the rest of the assemblies.

Many times over, this part of the verse is interpreted as if we are save by works, which based on the Bible we are save by Grace, but the Lord and the Word of God doesn’t contradict itself at all.  This is because the Lord is talking here as if the Grace is no longer in action on earth, but under the “Great Tribulation” process in where your actions will take you out to the throne of God after being decapitated and in Heaven, wash out by the “Blood of the Lamb”:

Rev 7:14 LITV

(14)  And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are those coming out of the great tribulation; and they washed their robes and whitened them in the blood of the Lamb.

This is because there is no one that will go to the Father but Thru Him (Jesus Christ our Lord):

Joh 14:6 LITV

(6)  Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Rev 2:24-25 LITV

(24)  But I say to you and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this teaching, and who did not know the deep things of Satan, as they say: I am not casting another burden on you;

(25)  but what you have, hold until I shall come.

Observe how the Lord is making clear that this is for everyone that is reading this letter and not only to the assembly of Thyatira, the Lord says “…But I say to you and to the rest of Thyatira…”.  Indication that it is directed to the reader of this letter whether he is from the assembly of Thyatira or not and including Thyatira members.

Also and in a clear form the Lord indicates that those that are not mixed or infected with the teachings or doctrine of Jezebel and those that did not know the deep things of Satan are going to pass thru such burden.  In contrast with the deep things of God, of which we are call to pursue them and ask for them in prayer to receive them through the Holy Spirit on knowledge, wisdom and understand of the Word of God.  Read below:

1Co 2:10-15 LITV

(10)  But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

(11)  For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God.

(12)  But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.

(13)  Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

(14)  But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

(15)  But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one.

Rev 2:26-27 LITV

(26)  And the one overcoming, and the one keeping My works until the end, “I will give to him authority over the nations,”

(27)  and “He will shepherd them with an iron staff” (they are “broken to pieces like clay vessels”), as I also have received from My Father. Psa. 2:8, 9

On verses 26 and 27, is the promise to the overcoming, but in this particular case, the overcomer must also keep the works of God until the end, but if you remember at the beginning of the letter there are two ways in where this term is expressed:

  • Toil
    • This is in where the member of the Body of Christ must work in every level to start the fields of the Gospel of the Lord. In where, as in human terms we say, blood, sweat and tears are brought to the field hoping the labor will be enough and that the seed of the Gospel is in a good grounds for it to grow and sustained the storms.
  • Deeds
    • Our main job as a members of the Body of Christ is to live a life in Christ like behavior by feeding the hungry, protecting the homeless and the widow, promoting the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, Discipleship others and in prayer and supplication to ask the Lord for the Body of Christ and Israel protection waiting patiently for the Coming of the Lord.

The Lord says He will give to those that do as He ask, authority over the nations to the point of shepherd them with an iron staff.  That is an incredible authority, like no one ever will have, supervised by the Lord Jesus our Savior.  Look in the parenthesis of the verse on how the Lord says that these nations are broken to pieces like clay vessels and that reminds me the vision that the prophet Daniel had of the statue in different metals, where the feet were a mix of Clay and Iron (please referred to my earlier Bible Study in this web in regard to the Book of Daniel).

Also if you read Psalm 2, which is in where it is a reference of the above verse, please notice that there are three speakers in that Psalm (Please read Psalm 2).

Rev 2:28-29 LITV

(28)  And I will give to him the Morning Star.

(29)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

But that is not all that the Lord is given away, there is more, much more.

He is giving “the Morning Star”, I tell you that we already have the Morning Star which is Jesus Christ our Lord.  Of course the Lord closes the Letter with the advice to everyone that either are listening or reading these letters (not just the Thyatira letter) not just to read them, but to hear them and put them into practice.

God Bless You !

The Assembly of Pergamos

The Assembly of Pergamos

The Assembly of Pergamos

 

Historical Background:

 

Pergamon /ˈpɜrɡəmən/ or /ˈpɜrɡəmɒn/ or Pergamum /ˈpɜrɡəməm/ (Ancient Greek: τὸ Πέργαμον, to Pergamon, or ἡ Πέργαμος, hē Pergamos) was an ancient Greek city in Aeolis, currently located 26 kilometres (16 mi) from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern-day Bakırçay). Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama in Turkey.

Some ancient authors regarded it as a colony of the Arcadians, but the various origin stories all belong to legend. The Greek historians reconstructed a complete history for it due to confusion with the distant Teuthrania.  It became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC.  Pergamon is cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia.

Map of Asia Manor  by 188 BC

(Map of the city of Pergamum and also the Kingdom of Pergamum after the treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C.)

Pergamum_acropolis_model

(Model of the Acropolis of Pergamos / Museum of Berlin)

During 399 B.C. the city of Pergamos was recapture by the Syrian and it was of no importance on the antiquity until 301 B.C. when it became the capital of the new kingdom of Pergamon, founded in 281 B.C by Philetaerus and giving a beginning to the Attalid dynasty.

The Attalids became some of the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world. Under Attalus I (241–197 BC), they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II (197–158 BC), against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. For their support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.

The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity. Many documents survive showing how the Attalids supported the growth of towns by sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi, Delos, and Athens. They defeated the invading Celts. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon after the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus III (138–133 BC) died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war.

Pergamon was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia, before the capital was transferred to Ephesus.

After a slow decline, the city was favored by several imperial initiatives under Hadrian (117 – 138). It was granted the title of metropolis and as a result of this an ambitious building program was carried out: massive temples, a stadium, a theatre, a huge forum and an amphitheater were constructed. In addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius (the god of healing) was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic and healing centers of the Roman world. Galen, after Hippocrates the most famous physician of antiquity, was born at Pergamon and received his early training at the Asclepeion.

Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman Imperial rule and was home to about 200,000 inhabitants.  The Library of Pergamon was renowned, and second only to the Library of Alexandria, although not approaching Alexandria in scholarship.  The city was an early seat of Christianity and was granted a bishopric by the second century.  During the Third Century was badly damaged by an earthquake and ransacked by the “Goths” after.

FYI Important Background on Pergamos

It is also known as “the city of the serpent”, and for its greatness in the religious influence of that time in history.

Asclepius
Asclepius

(Asclepius with his serpent-entwined staff / Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus).

This particular assembly is well known for the influence in medicine and what is known today as Phycology.

The link below will give you access to a brief but incredible video by 700 Club, just click in the link:

http://www1.cbn.com/700club/seat-satan-ancient-pergamum

 

Mercury and Merchant approach vs Asclepius and the naked Graces
Mercury and a merchant disapproving Asclepius and the naked Graces (Meritrine, Hygeia and Panacea)

Mercury (Hermes) & merchant approach disapproving Asclepius (Physician) and the naked Graces (Meditrine, Hygeia and Panacea)

The first temple of this cult was erected in Pergamos in 27 B.C.  Aesculapius was identical to Phaethon (Nimrod = founder of the original Babylonian religion, eventually developing the worship of his widow Semiramis and his posthumous son (the Ashtoreth and Tammuz of Phoenicia, Isis and Horus of Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros of Greece, Venus and Cupid of Rome))

When Cyrus conquered Babylon, they found a new center at Pergamos and that king became “Pontifex Maximus”, highest priest of the pagan system.  When Rome took power over Pergamos the cult was assimilated and very well transferred to Rome by Pergamos.  One of the most clear influence on such cult in Rome is the fact that the Caesar was appointed “highest priest” and ultimately in 378 A.D. of Damasus, the Bishop of Rome with the complete and permanent absorption of “Babylonianism” into the Roman Church (this could possibly be seeing reflected with Thyatira).

During the year 312 A.D. Constantine set out to defeat the forces of Maxentius, empire rival.  His father prospered when he prayed to the God of the Christians, Constantine resorted to the same actions.  It is said the next morning he saw a shining cross in the sky with an inscription above it that read: “in hoc signo vinces” (In this sign thou shall conquer”, marked all the shields of his army with the mark, and after a bloody battle defeated Maxentius and immediately after declared his conversion to Christianity.  Constantine assumed headship of the church, repealed the persecution with the “edicts of Diocletian” advancing Christianity to high office in the state.  Pagan temples were converted to Christians churches; heathen festivals and customs were converted in to Christians ones; pagan priest slipped into office as Christians priests and so on.

Exposition of Revelation 2: 12-17

(Rev 2:12)  And to the angel of the assembly in Pergamos, write: These things says the One having the sharp, two-edged sword:

Once again in Revelation 2: 12 the Lord is dictating to the apostle the letter that the angel (messenger) is going to take to Pergamos.  There is only one angel that will be given the task and responsibility of this letter, not only because it is trusted by the Lord Almighty to accomplish such action, but more so because the angel’s personal relationship with the assembly.

Meaning of the name “Pergamos”;  it is a compound word:

  • Per” = pervert, perturbation, mixed, objectionable
  • gamos” = marriage

When the Lord described Himself as the “…the One having the sharp, two-edged sword…”, He is without a doubt that He is the Highest Authority in Command, Highest Priest and no one else is (Read Book of John 1: 1-4).

(Rev 2:13)  I know your works, and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is. And you hold My name, and did not deny My Faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful witness; who was killed alongside you, where Satan dwells.

In this verse the Lord started to describe the attributes of this assembly:

  1. Know your works (this particular assembly is not lazy)
  2. Knows the place where the assembly dwell, where the throne of Satan is (the Lord is indicating here that even though the assembly is dwelling under the same location as where the throne of Satan is, they (the assembly) is not part of Satan.
    1. We, as the assembly of the Lord, are called to be among the ones that lives in this world but not been part of the world.
      1. Joh_14:17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He abides with you and shall be in you.

There is always a truth about this assembly related to the action of dwelling in the place where Satan’s throne is, and that is the fact that a throne is a chair located in the center of a room to make comfortable the person more respected and which is not use by any other member of the room but the person destine for.  Understanding this, we can come to the conclusion that this assembly, even though did the works and dwelled where it was commanded to, more so hold the Name of the Lord (the assembly was of the family belong to the Lord, so they claim:    (Eph 3:14)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,(Eph 3:15)  of whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named,).  It is evident that even when they hold and called themselves members of the family of the Lord, this assembly did not gave the Lord the recognition He deserved and in His place the throne was occupied by Satan.

It is also very interesting that is mentioned that this particular assembly never denied “His Faith” (it is spelled in capital letters, indicative of the Lord’s Faith and not the assembly’s faith, in accordance with the Strong words this particular term of faith is:

G4102

πίστις

pistis

pis’-tis

From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Total KJV occurrences: 244

In other words, they knew the Word, did the works, dwelled among the place we had been called to dwelled, hold the name of the Lord (members of the Family), and also never denied the Lord’s Faith or His Gospel. They, Pergamos, were so confused on their own well-being and totally out of their track in the real Gospel that they couldn’t distinguished between what was right and what was not.

This assembly allowed the satanic forces to influence them so strongly, to a point in were a faithful witness of the Gospel of the Lord was sacrifice to the idols and they didn’t raise their voices against such actions.  How a believer raise his/her voice? You may ask.  The answer is, by Prayers, Supplications, Fasting, and Studying the Word of Truth.

When any or all of those elements are placed in a subordination level to allow the public non believer to dictate and mandate our course of action, we as believers becomes co-participators of such actions.  The verse end by the Lord emphasizing such actions were taking place in “Satan’s dwelling place”.  This is very important because it tells us how they (Pergamos) allowed themselves to be influenced by the outside forces even when they had all the elements in their favor.

(Rev 2:14)  But I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol sacrifices, and to commit fornication.

(Rev 2:15)  So you also have those holding the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

On verses 14 through 15 the Lord is indicating to the assembly their negative points, let’s put them in a sequence manner:

  1. This assembly allowed …those holding the teachings of Balaam…
    1. To throw a stumbling block against the sons of Israel
      1. Read Numbers 22: 1-41
    2. To eat idol sacrifices
      1. Read Numbers 22: 40
    3. To commit fornication
      1. Read Numbers 22: 41
    4. Pergamos also allowed …those holding the teaching of the Nicolatians…
      1. What is the teachings of the Nicolatians that God Himself hate so much?
        1. Nicolaitans
        2. Nicola’itans (followers of Nicolas). A sect mentioned in Rev_2:6; Rev_2:15, whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical, with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that, it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in Act_15:20; Act_15:29. The teachers of the Church branded them with a name, which expressed their true character. The men who did and taught such things were followers of Balaam. 2Pe_2:15; Jud_1:11. They, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds.
  • In a time of persecution, when the eating or not eating of things sacrificed to idols was, more than ever, a crucial test of faithfulness, they persuaded men, more than ever, that was a thing indifferent. Rev_2:13-14. This was bad enough, but there was a yet worse evil. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church.
  1. And all this was done, it must be remembered, not simply as an indulgence of appetite, but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, 2Pe_2:1. It confirms the view, which has been taken of their character to find that stress is laid, in the first instance on the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans. To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church, that otherwise is weak and faithless. Rev_2:6 To tolerate them is well-nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. Rev_2:14-15.

(Rev 2:16)  Repent! But if not, I will come to you quickly, and I will make war with them by the sword of My mouth.

Here int verse 16 the Lord advised to the assembly of their only possible option to take, that is to “Repent”, otherwise (if the assembly does not repent) The Lord will come quickly.  The phrase “…come to you quickly…” means the following:

G5035

ταχύ

tachu

takh-oo’

Neuter singular of G5036 (as adverb); shortly, that is, without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication of ease) readily: – lightly, quickly.

Total KJV occurrences: 12

Read please the following:

(2Pe 3:9)  The Lord of the promise is not slow, as some deem slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not having purposed any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

(2Pe 3:10)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with rushing sound, and having burned the elements will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be burned up.

(Rev 2:17)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To the one overcoming, I will give him to eat from the hidden manna. And I will give to him a white stone, and on the stone a new name having been written, which no one knows except the one receiving it.

In verse 17 there is a once again a personal implication and application of the assembly for everyone that is part of the assembly of the Lord. We are commanded to make our voices heard and our Prayers brought to the Throne of the Lord on behave of the Gospel of Truth.  We must work diligently to prepare ourselves to the battle, wearing the all armor of God as is described by the apostle Paul (read below):

Eph_6:11  Put on all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil,

Eph_6:13  Because of this, take up all of the armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand.

It does follows the verse by indicating the promise to overcomer, which is in this assembly the following:

  1. Will eat of the hidden manna
  2. Will receive a white stone
    1. Encrypted with a new name
      1. Known only by the one receiving the stone

Thank you for reading and I hop/e in the Lord this will be of great help to your spiritual life.  God Bless You All.

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The Assembly of Smyrna / Second Letter to the Assemblies (Book of Revelation)

The Assembly of Smyrna / Second Letter to the Assemblies (Book of Revelation)

Background and History:      Smyrna

Smyrna is known today as “Izmir”, located in Turkey and as a major city with a population of approximately 300,000 habitants.  It has an excellent harbor, import/export few items such as tobacco, grapes, cotton, figs, olive oil and other.

The original city was destroyed about B.C. 627, and was deserted and in ruins for four hundred years. Alexander the Great contemplated its restoration, and his design was carried out after his death. The new city was built a short distance south of the ancient one, and became the finest in Asia Minor, being known as the glory of Asia. It was one of the cities which claimed the honor of being Homer’s birthplace. A splendid temple was erected by the Smyrnaeans to his memory, and a cave in the neighborhood of the city was shown where he was said to have composed his poems. Smyrna’s fine harbor made it a commercial center; but it was also distinguished for its schools of rhetoric and philosophy. Polycarp was the first bishop of its church, which suffered much from persecution, and he was said to have suffered martyrdom in the stadium of the city, A.D. 166. It is argued with some plausibility that Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna at the time of the composition of Revelation, and was the person addressed here. This question, however, is bound up with that of the date of composition (see Trench, “Epistles to the Seven Churches”). The city was a seat of the worship of Cybele the Mother of the gods, and of Dionysus or Bacchus.

Alyattes, the king of “Lydia”, successfully conquered it, putting an end to a history of two and one-half millennia.  Alexander the Great, during the fourth century, put in charge one of his four generals to build in its place the most beautiful, well build and planned city in Ionia.  The result was known as the “Flower of Ionia”.   27 B.C. Smyrna went under the Romans control and which became a great allied to the Romans during the Syrian/Mithridatic wars.  From 27 B.C. to 324 A.D it was a powerful city with great material prosperity.  From the years 178 A.D. throughout 180 A.D. suffered many seismic disturbances but always rebound from it.

Today, Smyrna (Izmir), is known as “The Paris of the Levant”.  The richly embellishment of the temples and splendid buildings, in a perfect symmetry of those encircling “Mount Pagos” resulted in the title “the crown of Smyrna”.

Please Click on this link to be able to see a Map of what is today "Izmir" also known as Smyrna during Bible Times.
Please Click on this link to be able to see a Map of what is today “Izmir” also known as Smyrna during Bible Times.

Religion

There is a legend that surround the origins of this great empire, and which it also has to do with their polytheistic believes.  Never the less, the beginning of the Roman religious believes were “animistic” in character.  Their believe were, everything that was around them and that inhabited the Earth had its own spirit or numen. They truly believe, they were watched over by their ancestors’ spirits called “genius” (for male) and “juno” (for female).

Early in their history due to the Sabine influence, the romans had as prominent gods the following:

  • Mars
    1. The god of war
      1. Vital role in the beginning of the Roman history.
        • In accordance with the legend of the foundation of Rome, he was the father of Romulus and Remus.
  • Quirinus
    1. The god who watched over the people and government of Rome was the deified Romulus.
  • Jupiter
    1. The leader of the gods

All the three gods were worshiped at the temple on the Capitoline Hill, which they were known as the Capitoline Triad.  This Sabine influence did not replace the former believe but instead, they were added to their worship.

Later on the Monarchy period, the Etruscan influence was such, that the Capitoline triad underwent a transformation:

  • Jupiter still at the pinnacle of their religion.
  • Mars was replaced with Juno
    1. Juno became the wife of Jupiter
  • Quirinus was replaced with Minerva
    1. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter and Juno
      1. goddess of wisdom

Once the Greeks were settled on the South of the Italian peninsula, also influence their religious believes.  These last influenced the Romans by giving to the Romans the power to create their mythology, and as a result, an eloquent and pictographic gamma of characters of Roman gods were borrowed from the Greek gods.

Examples of such are:

Roman gods                                      Greek gods

  • Jupiter                                          Zeus
  • Mars                                             Ares
  • Minerva                                        Athena
  • Apollo                                           Apollo

This particular process on any culture in were the influence is operating this way is called “syncretism”, a distinctive nature displayed by the Romans gods vs the counterparts was the fact that they displayed a frugal nature.  The believer’s faith was guided by a college of “pontiffs” (an assembly of the highest ranking priest in the Ancient Roman/does this sound familiar?).  The highest among them was “pontifex maximus”, position hold by patricians until the third century B.C. a plebian Roman could hold such position.  Also even though this position was a highly wholly spiritual function, there was later on politicized. A great example of this was Julius Caesar, whose was the pontifex maximus during the first Triumvirate.

Each god had their own temple, priest or flamines.  While the college was task with the affairs of the gods, the flamines represented their particular deity.  The most important priest represented the Capitoline Triad, there was an exception to the rule and that was the priestesses to Vesta, goddess of the hearth, all were men. The Vestal Virgins (as they were known) priestesses were ordered to remain celibate for the entire thirty years of service and their task was to keep the sacred fire of Vesta burning in the temple. Many privileges were given to them, among some, privilege to own properties, to vote, no longer under the control of their parents, highly regarded and a reason why many patrician families wished their daughters to be given the position.  The title of Vestal Virgins were appointed by the pontifex maximus by a drawing lots.  Some of the downsides of the Vestal Virgins were for example that if the priestess fail to remain celibate for any period of the thirty years of service the punishment was to be buried alive.

During the beginning of the Empire, the emperor were deified after death, but it was not until Julius Caesar that the emperor was deified during their terms and after him many others will follow, there were couple exceptions; Caligula and Nero.

Worship of the imperial cult became a commonplace and even many of the emperors believed to be themselves “gods”.  Commodus, for example, believed to be Hercules himself, Diocletian found affinity with Jupiter.  Never the less, the one who made himself to be placed in a statue in the Jewish temples around the Roman Empire was Caligula.

Christianity started as a marginal and persecuted sect, but ended up the official state religion.  As the Christians grew in number and with the ability to influence the Emperor Constantine, convinced by the Christian teachings, Constantine marched into a battle with the banner of Christ, and with heavy odds against him and his army, won the battle and attributed to Christ the victory calling it a divine intervention.

Immediately after his victory, Constantine passed the “Edict of Milan”, professing tolerance toward Christians and their believes.  He ended baptized and the majority of his successors were Christians.  Julian was an exception to that rule, trying to reinstate the traditional Roman gods, but with no much result.  It was not but until 380 A.D. that Christianity became the State Religion.

During the month of December (December Saturnalia), on what is known as the “Via Sacra” (Sacred Way), passage that runs from the Coliseum, the Capitoline Hill (Capitoline Triad Temple Location) and Temple of Jupiter, marches and religious festivals took place.

Up to now is a brief view of the religious practices of the Roman Empire during the first, second and portion of the third centuries.

Let’s start with the Biblical passage for our delight, which is located in the 2nd Chapter of the Book of Revelation verses 8-11. Keep in mind I am using the Literate Translation which you will be able to find by downloading e-Sword program ( www.e-Sword.org ) which is a great tool for Bible Studies and is totally free of charge.

(Rev 2:8)  And to the angel of the assembly of Smyrna, write: These things says the First and the Last, Who became dead, and lived:

Once again we can see how the Lord Jesus Christ appointed the angel to take the message to the assembly of Smyrna. This is indicative that there is always a particular messenger for the plan of God in our lives.  This particular messenger knows the target in question and understand the all details regarding the assembly of Smyrna.

“These things says the First and the Last”…  Please pay attention to the way the Lord uses the first word in the sentences, which is in a plural manner.   It is indicating to us, the multiple things the Lord sees in our lives that many times we have no idea of them.  Immediately after it is brought up one of the names that our Lord is known by: and these can be read in four more locations in the Bible:

  1. Isa 41:4
  2. Rev 1:11
  3. Rev 1:17
  4. Rev 2:8
  5. Rev 22:13

It is not until the Book of revelation that this particular Name of God is used in Capital Letters (this could be observed if you use the LIT Translation vs the KJV).

Another portion that is curious to observe in the verse the use of …”Who became dead, and lived:”…  By using this particular name, God Himself becomes a witness of His selfish act in the Cross for all mankind.

As you continue reading this passage, you can’t stop noticing the theme of “death” in the letter.

As you know the word “Smyrna” means “Myrrh” which is a spice used to either preserve the bodies after death and as an aromatic spice, which is what normally we know about it.  Never the less, there is a passage in  Genesis 37:25 that mention specifically this spice and is in relation to the narrative of Joseph son of Jacob.

Also in Exodus 30:23 it is mentioned to be included as part of the group of species and other ointments to be use for the anointing of the tabernacle, the ark of the testimony, the table and vessels, the altar of incense and the altar of burnt offering with vessels, the laver and his foot, also Aaron and his sons. Such anointed group of spices and oils was going to be presented to the children of Israel as a holy anointing oil throughout the generations.

In Esther 2:12 you can see the use of Myrrh in the anointing of the royal queen before to be presented to the king.

Myrrh is also found in the Bible as one of the three gifts the wise men presented to the Christ Child, according to the gospel of Matthew. According to the gospel of Mark, Jesus was offered wine and myrrh before the crucifixion.

In Isaiah 60:6 expressed the Word of God that will be given presents to the Lord Jesus during the millennium but among the gifts presented to Him one will be out of the equation, and that is “myrrh”.  Myrrh was representative of the pain and suffering of our Lord as a human on this earth, but that will be all behind Him once He entered the millennium and after.

(Rev 2:9)  I know your works, and the affliction, and the poverty; but you are rich. And I know the evil speaking of those saying themselves to be Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

The Lord in verse 9 started to give the commendations of the assembly of Smyrna.  The Lord started by saying to the assembly:

  1. I know your works
  2. I know your affliction
    1. G2347
    2. θλίψις
    3. thlipsis
    4. thlip’-sis
      1. From G2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): – afflicted, (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
    5. Total KJV occurrences: 45
    6. Notice how this word is used to denote one of the qualities of the spice of myrrh which is to be pressure in order for the spice to be effective in its natural way.
  3. I know your poverty
    1. G4432
    2. πτωχεία
    3. ptōcheia
    4. pto-khi’-ah
    5. From G4433; beggary, that is, indigence (literally or figuratively): – poverty. This is used when there is nothing at all available, there is nothing you can reach for. Extreme poor.
    6. Total KJV occurrences: 3
      1. But you are rich
      2. Is this not knowing of your worth by choice or by ignorance on the part of the assembly? Does the assembly knows they are rich but choose to be poor or do they think they are really poor?
  • (2Co 8:9) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich, He became poor for your sake, so that you might become rich by the poverty of that One.
  1. I know the “evil speaking” of those saying themselves to be Jews
    1. G988
    2. βλασφημία
    3. blasphēmia
    4. blas-fay-me’-ah
    5. From G989; vilification (especially against God): – blasphemy, evil speaking, railing.
    6. Total KJV occurrences: 19
      1. They Are Not
      2. They are synagogue of Satan.
        1. As I have read this particular section of the verse, my head started spinning in questions about why is this said here by the Lord? There is also an important point that we must remember, the Lord was very straight and clear to the adversary and his followers, and He never deviated.
        2. If we read John chapter 8, we will noticed the level of tension that existed among Jesus and the so called “religious leaders of the Jews”, in particular in verse 18 and 19.
        3. In John 8:19 the religious leaders asked the Lord … (Joh 8:19) Then they said to Him, Where is your father? Jesus answered, You neither know Me, nor My Father. If you had known Me, then you also would have known My Father.
          1. In the above phrase in Bold/Italic/Underline format they were trying to tell Jesus that He (Jesus) was a “Bastard” (this is what is known today as a sarcasm). The below verses demonstrate how intense was the tension, and when you read these verse read it as if you were a Jew…
        4. (Joh 8:39) They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father (here is the second time in this chapter they said to Jesus in an indirect way that He was a “Fatherless Child” (Bastard)). Jesus said to them, If you were children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham.
        5. (Joh 8:40) But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has spoken the truth to you, which I heard alongside of Abraham did not do this.
        6. (Joh 8:41) You do the works of your father. They said to Him, We were not born of fornication; we have one father, God (This is the third time in this chapter they indicated to the Lord that “He” (Our Lord Jesus) was a “Bastard”).
        7. (Joh 8:42) Then Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I went forth and have come from God. For I have not come from Myself, but that One sent Me.
        8. (Joh 8:43) Why do you not know My speech? It is because you are not able to hear My Word.
        9. (Joh 8:44) You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you desire to do. That one was a murderer from the beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar, and the father of it.

(Rev 2:10)  Do not at all fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw you into prison, so that you may be tried; and you will have affliction ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

We as Christians know that it is very difficult to be a “Follower of the Way” (as we used to be known before the term Christians came about).  We must pray for those that persecute us, forgive those that torment us and bless those that curse us, right?  Of course we must.  But there is also a reminder from the Lord that no matter what we will go thru in life, He will never leave us nor forsake us.

1Ki_8:57  Jehovah our God is with us as He has been with our fathers; He shall not forsake us or leave us,

Also in this particular verse there is an important part that many believers omit as they read this passage, that is the reality of a an accuser that is always ready to point his fingers at us just to make our lives a “living hell”, he is called the devil.  This part on this particular verse can’t and most not be confused with the part of the “Great Tribulation”, this part of the  verse is what we will see on a daily basis just for been part of the “Special Elite Unit” called “Christians” or “Follower of the Way”.  One way or another, there is no doubt that the Lord never leaves us nor forsake us, read below:

Heb_13:5  Set your way of life without money-loving, being satisfied with present things; for He has said, “Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you,” never! Deut. 31:6

Another part on this verse that strike me is the fact that the Lord advised of ten days of afflictions. These ten days put me to think, why the Lord mentioned those ten days in a specific manner?  If we go back in history, we will be able to notice that between the End of the First Century and all away to the end of the Second Century there were a total of ten Roman Emperors. Let see them one by one in a list:

Name Succession Reign / AD Time in Office
Trajan Caesar Marcvs Vlpivs Nerva Traianvs Avgvstvs Adopted and Heir of Nerva Jan/98 – Aug/117 19 yrs 7 mths
Hadrian Caesar Pvblivs Aelivs Traianvs Hadrianvs Avgvstvs Adopted and Heir of Trajan Aug/117 – Jul/138 21 yrs
Antoninus Pius Caesar Titvs Aelivs Hadrianvs Antoninvs Avgvstvs Pivs Adopted and Heir of Hadrian Jul/138 – Mar/161 22yrs 7 mths
Marcus Aurelius Caesar Marcvs Avrelivs Antoninvs Avgvstvs Adopted son/son-in-law and Heir of Antoninus Pius and

Co-Emperor with Lucius Verus until 169

Mar/161 – Mar/180 19 yrs
Lucius Verus Caesar Lvcivs Avrelivs Vervs Avgvstvs Adopted son Heir of Antoninus Pius and son-in-lawof Marcus Aurelius; Co-Emperor with Marcus Aurelius until his death Mar/161 – Mar/169 8 yrs
Commodus Caesar Marcvs Avrelivs Commodvs Antoninvs Avgvstvs Natural son of Marcus Aurelius; Co-Emperor from 177 ?/177 – Dec/192 15 yrs
Pertinax Caesar Pvblivs Helvivs Pertinax Avgvstvs Proclaimed by the Praetorian Guard Jan/193 – Mar/193 3 mths
Didius Julianus Caesar Marcvs Didivs Severvs Ivlianvs Avgvstvs Won auction by the Praetorian Guard for the position of Emperor Mar/193 – Jun/193 2 mths – 4 days

(65 Days)

Septimius Severus Caesar Lvcivs Septimivs Severvs Pertinax Avgvstvs Seized power with the Support of the Pannonian Legions Apr/193 – Feb/211 17 yrs 10 mths
Caracalla Caesar Marcvs Avrelivs Severvs Antoninvs Pivs Avgvstvs Son of Septimius Severus; Co-Emperor with Severus from 198; with Severus and Geta from 209 until Feb 211; Co-Emperor with Geta until Dec 211 ?/198 – Apr/217 19 yrs

Emperors Timeline 2nd Century (Click on this link to see a timeline of the Second Century Roman Emperors).

(Rev 2:11)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. The one overcoming will not at all be hurt by the second death.

As it was with the first assembly, the Lord tells us to pay attention to this message of this assembly, because it is not particular to them but to all of the believers in Christ.  Also it important to say that the affirmation of the Lord by explicitly saying this message is through the Holy Spirit, this is visible because the word “Spirit” is in Capital letter “S” indicative of the Third Person of the Trinity of God.

The last but not the least point to talk about is how the Lord indicates to the one overcoming this particular time will not be hurt by the second death and you might ask; what is the second death?  The Bible gives us the answer and here it is:

Rev_20:6  Blessed and holy is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.

Rev_20:14  And death and hell were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.

Rev_21:8  But for the cowardly and unbelieving, and those having become foul, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all the lying ones, their part will be in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Remember always to Pray to the Lord before and after of your Bible Study for His guidance, knowledge, wisdom and understanding on the Word and God Bless You.

This is a Timeline of Major Events during the First Century in relation to the Church of Christ.

Please Click on the below link to see the Timeline in a PDF File.

Church First Century Events PDF View

Letter to the Ephesian Assembly ( Rev 2:1-7 )

Background and History of the City of Ephesus:

Accordance with the legend the name of the city of “Ephesus / Ephesos” is derived from the “Apasas”, the name of the “Kingdom of Arsawa” (The city of the Mother Goddess / possibly a Hittite fertility deity who subsequently became identified with “Diana”).  Ionian immigration started around 1200 B.C. (this city, in accordance with Tacitus records, was founded in 1400 B.C.) and since them the city is known as an Ionian Greek City, under the leadership of Ionian Androclus, son of Crodus.  In the middle of the Sixth Century B.C. the city was captured by the Lydians.  In 541 B.C. Croesus (their King) was routed by the Persians and Ephesus was joined to other cities in the Ionian confederacy.  Was during this period of time that their deity was identified with “Diana”, also known as “Artemis”.  During the Peloponnesian wars served as a key naval based.  In 334 B.C. it felt to the Macedonian Empire under Alexander.  The city of

Ephesus sided with Syrian Empire against the Romans and eventually became capital of Asia, with autonomous municipal government and senate.

The city was call the “Queen of Asia”, extremely wealthy and beautiful city in all.  Women enjoyed equal rights to Men and were known women artist, sculptors, painters and teachers.  During the night time it was lighted with oil lamps around the streets of the city, demonstration of their opulence and wealth.   Later in history when the Christians were brought from all over the Roman Empire to be flung by lions, Ephesus was also called “The Highway for Martyrs”.  The Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) was build by Croesus before his death and destroyed by a fire on 356 B.C. (same night that “Alexander the Great” was born).  Alexander offered to rebuild the temple, but the Ephesians refused the offered because in accordance with them there was not proper for a “god” (Alexander was considered a god) to build another god’s temple.  Later on one of Alexander’s generals rebuilds the Temple of Artemis.

It was located near the river Cayster (now Lower Meander) and it was the main way of communication between Rome and Eastern Provinces.  One main road ran eastward through a pass to Sardis and then to Galatia and beyond.  Another lead to Magnesia and up to the Valley of the River Meander to Iconium; a third ran through Collasae and Laodicea to the Euphrates.  Through the port were a continual commerce and trade with Italy and Greece.

Architectural features, such as the theater which was 495 feet in diameter and held 25,000 people (Acts 19).   The Marble Way, lined with status and fountains, ran from the temple of Artemis through the city to the Megnesia Gate.  This particular aspect of this road in conjunction with the temple of Artemis was with the purpose to bring the sensation to the inhabitants of the city of Ephesus as if Artemis was blessings their city through out their limits boundaries.  The most powerful and part of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” is in fact the temple of Artemis.  This temple was four times larger than the Parthenon at Athens, and stood on a platform of 425feet by 220 feet.  The temple itself was 340 by 165 feet.  It was composed of 120 Ionic columns each of 60 feet high.

Temple of Artemis / Diana
Temple of Artemis / Diana

It was in this temple in were Paul was preaching against the ecstatic sexual depravation on the rituals taking place by the locals.  These rituals involved both males and females prostitutes.  This city was also famous for the searching of the knowledge such as math, astrology, magic and many other rituals at the time of Paul.  Many of these magicians and fortune tellers heard the Word of God; they themselves burned their books and other artifacts, allowing the Gospel of the Lord to grow in an incredible manner.  Ephesus became very important for the growth of the Gospel of the Lord.  Later due to the gradual unusable harbor (due to the erosion caused by the deforestation on the area) the main road was diverted to Smyrna.  When the income of such rituals at the temple was threatened by Paul’s preaching the mob (these were financially depended from the temple rituals) went against his life and he left Ephesus.  In this city of Ephesus it was established the first bank in the history of human kind and it function under the chief priest of the temple.

This is the image of the Artemis/Diana idol.
This is the image of the Artemis/Diana idol.
This is a representation in 3D of what could it be the City of Ephesus.  This is a PDF File Format
This is a representation in 3D of what could it be the City of Ephesus. This is a PDF File Format
GPS Location of City of Ephesus
GPS Location of City of Ephesus

It is believed that Timothy became their first bishop (1st Tim 1:3):

1Ti 1:3 LITV

(3)  Even as I called on you to remain in Ephesus, (I going to Macedonia), that you might charge some not to teach other doctrines,

It is also here in Ephesus that we find Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos.  It was here also that the bishop of Ephesus was accorded rank and authority of a patriarch over the churches in the province of Asia and in 431 A.D. the Emperor Theodosius II called a general church council at Ephesus to consider the hotly argumentative hard to swallow question of the time whether the Virgin Mary should be described as the mother of God.  This particular and very important point on the Christian teachings was occupying much of the time of the members of the assemblies in determine if it was “Christotokos” (Birth giver of Jesus Christ and not Birth giver of God) or “Theotokos” (Birth giver of Christ and Birth giver of God).  Two Hundred bishops on what it was a third Ecumenical Council decided concerning this subject in an affirmative way and in favor of “Theotokos”.

(Time Line of the Church History base on the Seven Assemblies)

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Christianity#Apostolic_Age ).

In 262 A.D. the city of Ephesus was destroyed by the “Goths” and it is today but a sad reminder of its former glory, as a small unpretentious village of Selҫuk in Turkey.

We had finished a simple but very important background on this particular assembly.  Now let’s start with the body of Chapter 2 of the Book of Revelation in regard to the assembly of the Ephesians.

Rev 2:1 LITV

(1)  To the angel of the Ephesian assembly, write: These things says the One holding the seven stars in His right hand, He walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

Remember that in the previous chapter (Revelation Chapter 1), the meaning of the star was given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ:

Rev 1:11 LITV

(11)  saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last; also, What you see, write in a scroll, and send to the seven assemblies of Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Rev 1:20 LITV

(20)  The mystery of the seven stars which you saw on My right, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are angels of the seven assemblies, and the seven lampstands you saw are seven assemblies..  Below is an image of the lampstand described on the Book of Revelation.

This illustrated the Lampstand described in the Book of revelation
This illustrated the Lampstand described in the Book of revelation

The angel that is mentioned in the Book Revelation Chapter 2 verse 1 is no one else than one of the seven angels on His right hand that He (The Lord Himself) will use as messenger to take the letter that the Lord Himself is dictating to the Apostle John tailored specifically for the assembly of Ephesus.  All through the Bible, we see how the angels are use by the Lord as messengers for His cause and will, with no differences in this particular time.

I use the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible and based on this version of the Holy Bible there are 191 verses that mention the word “angel” and the word “angel” itself is 200 times among those 191 verses.  Using the same translation we can find that the same word, “angel”, in the Book of Revelation is used 53 times on a total of 53 verses of the Book.

Please, pay close attention to the verse in Rev 1:11 and how detailed God is in His instructions to the Apostle John.  God specifically indicated to John to (see, write, send) write whatever John sees in a scroll and to send it to the seven assemblies of Asia.  He never indicated to John to send it to the angel of the assembly.  He said to send it to the assembly.  The angel that God is referring to is the messenger that God has prepared for the message to be sent with.  Noticed carefully how in verse 20 of the same chapter, God gives the meaning of the mystery of the stars in the hand of God, and God identified them as “…the seven stars are angels of the seven assemblies,…”.  These seven angels are in the hand of God because they are under the command and control of the All Mighty God as trusted messengers to each of the assemblies.

Why is this so important, you may ask?  It is because, understanding that there is no hierarchy on the Body of Christ (this is once we are with the Lord and from the eye of the Lord there is no hierarchy other than the Lord as the One in Command.  The men had created a hierarchy because their sinful nature does not allow them to keep the All Mighty as the One in control).  In the Body of Christ there is no distinction of any one more or higher than the other, but everyone equal and at the same level thru the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ.  First we must look at the time in were the disciples of the Lord asked Him who was the greater in the Kingdom of Heaven? And this was His response…

Mat 18:3-4 LITV

(3)  And He said, Truly I say to you, Unless you convert and become as the little children, not at all can you enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

(4)  Then whoever will humble himself as this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven.

As you can see there is no one higher or lower, with more nor less responsibilities nor more nor less either obligations that the other in the Body of Christ which is the Church, everyone has the same responsibilities and obligations.  You might say, what Paul say about the different gifts?  Well here is what I like to bring to your attention…

Rom 1:11-12 LITV

(11)  For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, for the establishing of you;

(12)  and this is to be comforted together among you, through the faith in one another, both yours and mine.

The spiritual gifts imparted to us as members of the Body of Christ are for the mutual edification and to help the establishment (to help the foundation) of each other through the faith in one another.  In a way that we will continue our Christian journey. But this is another subject.

Click on this link to view the PDF Format File illustrating in a more clear and concise manner the Letter to the Ephesian Assembly Rev 2:1-7 (Letter to the Ephesians’ Assembly Format).

Continuing with Rev 2:1

Rev 2:1 LITV

(1)  To the angel of the Ephesian assembly, write: These things says the One holding the seven stars in His right hand, He walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

God also indicated to John that he not only is holding the seven stars in His right hand but also is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstand…  When the Lord God came in the person of the Lord Jesus the Christ (The Only Begotten Son of GOD), He suffered

For all of human kind on the Cross, died as a Man on the Cross carrying our sins with Him, and paying for our debt as sinners.

Isa 53:9-12 LITV

(9)  And He appointed Him His grave with the wicked, but He was with a rich man in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit was not in His mouth.

(10)  But Jehovah pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, so that If He should put His soul as a guilt offering, He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days; and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand.

(11)  He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities.

(12)  Because of this I will divide to Him with the great, and with the strong He shall divide the spoil; because He poured out His soul to death; and He was counted with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing.

He Himself told the disciples that He was going to leave behind the “Counselor, the Holy Spirit”…

Joh 20:21-22 LITV

(21)  Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

(22)  And saying this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.

Act 1:8 LITV

(8)  but you will receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be witnesses of Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Read also the following verse:

Isa 9:6 LITV

  • For a Child is born; to us a Son is given; and the government is on His shoulder; and His name is called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isa 11:1-2 LITV

(1)  And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch will bear fruit out of his roots.

(2)  And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; He will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.

Why I made these references?  This proves that when the Lord left, He left behind the Holy Spirit to guide us and to represent Him here on Earth while the time of the will of God will be done.  God is walking in the midst of the lampstands and is up to us to claim His presence.  God is in the midst of all the assemblies because He is impartial and has no preferences.  He loves all of us the same.

Also we must understand the particular way these seven assemblies were chosen by the Lord.  Please remember we already review the reason why there are seven assemblies.  The number seven mean “completeness”, this number is not a holy number, remember the Dragon and the Beast out of the Sea both have seven heads and they are not holy, even though they are part of the Holy Plan of GOD.  The reason there are seven assemblies is because through these seven assemblies it is seen the church as a whole unit and completion.

Rev 2:7 LITV

(7)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To the one overcoming, I will give to him to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Another important subject to notice is that all the seven letters were sent to the seven assemblies.  In other words, each assembly received the full pack of seven letters whether it had their name on it or not, but it was included on the spiritual delivery. Noticed this in the beginning of the Rev 2:7 in were the Lord in a very clear and specific way declared the plural of the word “assemblies” but in contrast He uses only a singular when referring to the hearer.

Rev 2:2 LITV

(2)  I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear evil ones; and you tried those pretending to be apostles and are not, and found them to be liars.

Everyone in the Body of Christ knows well and recognized the Omniscience and Omnipresence, All Powerful and All Mighty Creator God, but as our Father, He still reminding us His attributes, for us to understand that He cares.

Let’s analyze the following terms, these analysis are based on the KJ Translation of the Holy Bible:

Works = G2041

ἔργον

ergon

er’-gon

From ἔργω ergō (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.

Total KJV occurrences: 176

Labour = G2873

κόπος

kopos

kop’-os

From G2875; a cut, that is, (by analogy) toil (as reducing the strength), literally or figuratively; by implication pains: – labour, + trouble, weariness.

Total KJV occurrences: 19

Patience = G5281

ὑπομονή

hupomonē

hoop-om-on-ay’

From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Total KJV occurrences: 32

Bear = G941

βαστάζω

bastazō

bas-tad’-zo

Perhaps remotely derived from the base of G939 (through the idea of removal); to lift, literally or figuratively (endure, declare, sustain, receive, etc.): – bear, carry, take up.

Total KJV occurrences: 27

Apostles = G652

ἀπόστολος

apostolos

ap-os’-tol-os

From G649; a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”), (with miraculous powers): – apostle, messenger, he that is sent.

Total KJV occurrences: 81

Liars = G5571

ψευδής

pseudēs

psyoo-dace’

From G5574; untrue, that is, erroneous, deceitful, wicked: – false, liar.

Total KJV occurrences: 3

 

These seven assemblies described in a prophetic way the future of the “Body of Christ” here on Earth.  If you read carefully, you will notice that there is a gap in time between the 69 weeks and the Seventieth week of Daniel in chapter 9.  That gap is what I believe to be the time of the Church under the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dan 9:24-27 LITV

(24)  Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people, and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

(25)  Know, then, and understand that from the going out of a word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction.

(26)  And after sixty two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of a coming ruler shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, and war shall be until the end.

(27)  And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. And on a corner of the altar will be abominations that desolate, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on the desolator.

Click on this link to see a diagram of the Weeks of the Book of Daniel on a PDF Format  (Time Table of the Weeks on Daniel 9 )  this second link will illustrated the chapters of the Book of Daniel in a chronological order also on a PDF Format ( Daniel’s Timeline Based on Chapters on PDF ).

After the Book of Acts (which cover the first 30 plus years of the Church foundation and historical data) and some small details that either could be seeing or implied through out Paul’s writings, there is not much we can see in and through the Bible that tell us the history of the Church.  There is also a very important point to observe about these seven assemblies and that is, the order in were they are placed; it does match the history of the Church.  If these seven assemblies were placed in any other order other than the one they are, it would it be almost impossible to make this claim.  We as believers recognized the power on the will of God and how His will plays in the human history as it does in our individual lives.  There are not circumstantial events in the Bible, everything have a place and a time.

God is always in control of the entire Creation and by definition He is also in control of our lives.

Rev 2:3 LITV

(3)  And you bore up and have patience and on account of My name you have labored and have not wearied.

Here in verse three of the chapter, the Lord indicated vividly the positive points on this particular assembly.  These are, if you will, the “Pros” of this particular assembly.  Among the seven assemblies there are some that have “Pros” points and others “Cons” others have them both, but the Lord is very clear on them and on each of those points.

(Letter to the Ephesians’ Assembly Format)

(Time Line of the Church History base on the Seven Assemblies)

  1. “…bore up…”
    1. These mean that the particular assembly pushed/press forward in spite of every thing that came against them.
    2. This is also in the Pauline’s epistles:
  2. Php 3:12-14 LITV
  • Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
  • Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before,
  • I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
  1. “…have patience…”
    1. Rom 5:3 LITV

And not only so, but we glory also in afflictions, knowing that affliction works out patience,

  1. Heb 12:1 LITV

So therefore we also, having so great a cloud of witnesses lying around us, having laid aside every weight and the easily surrounding sin, through patience let us also run the race set before us,

  1. This particular assembly had been through many afflictions which resulted in their favor, by worked out “patience”. Patience is the step before the “proven character” is worked out on the Christian life.  More important it is the fact that “proven character” worked out one of the two elements incorporated into the “Christian Faith” and necessary for our access to the “Grace of GOD” and that is “HOPE”.
    • Rom 5:4-5 LITV

(4)  and patience works out proven character; and proven character, hope.

(5)  And the hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us;

  • Heb 11:1 LITV
    • Now faith is the essence of things being hoped, the evidence of things not having been seen.

Now here is where the Lord is extremely specific on His detail of the “Pros”, and that is “…on account of My name you have labored and have not wearied…”

First we must understand that the term “labored” means to work on the fields. This is completely related to one of the jobs of the Body of Christ.  But there is no work without the result of the fatigue and thirst.  It is then when your prayers and foundation on the Word of God will take effect in you, supplying you with the spiritual nutrients that your Christian life will need.

More importantly this is reference to the “First Century Church’s History”.

This first link is for a PDF File that will illustrate for your convenience the Seven Assemblies related to the History of the Church in a time line.  (Time Line of the Church History base on the Seven Assemblies).  This second link is a Wikipedia file link to help you to have an overview of the “First Century Church History/Apostolic Age”.   ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Christianity#Apostolic_Age )

During this period, the apostolic church, as it is named, dedicated much of their time in the “King’s business” but the Lord preferred time with the King (Himself) rather than time in the business of the King.  Many times we are more concerned with the responsibilities of the assembly and the human obligations, which included the dissemination of the message.  As human, we have the tendency to worry about what is belong to “Cesar” when it comes time to react in the field of the Lord, without remembering that the Lord Himself told us, we have nothing to worry about.  The Lord also and in a clear manner said to us the following:

  • Mat 6:34 LITV

Then do not be anxious for tomorrow. For the morrow will be anxious of itself. Sufficient to each day is its own trouble.

  • Act 2:47 LITV

praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the assembly, the ones being saved from day to day.

Notice how the Lord, not the effort of the apostles, but the Lord’s Himself added to the assembly.

Rev 2:4 LITV

(4)  But I have against you that you left your first love.

Here in verse four, the Lord made very clear His discontent with this particular assembly and that was the fact of them to leave behind their “first love”.  Let’s make clear the term “first” and the term “love” used here in this verse:

First

G4413

πρῶτος

prōtos

pro’-tos

Contracted superlative of G4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance): – before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.

Total KJV occurrences: 100

Love

G26

ἀγάπη

agapē

ag-ah’-pay

From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

Total KJV occurrences: 116

As you can observe, first love is referring to the love and mutual relationship between each one of us and God Himself.  Once that relationship is establish the rest of all our needs are meets by the immeasurable mercy of the Lord.

How this is seeing on the Church in the human history and time line.

(Below is the link to the First Century Time Line / The Apostolic Age of the Church  Click on the link to see the “Time Line”)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Christianity#Apostolic_Age

I like to make mention a few Biblical references that will make you reasoning this particular verse, maybe in a different way from the traditional perspective.

Here they are:

Rev_3:14-17; Jer_2:2-5; Mat_24:12-13; Phi_1:9, Phi_3:13-16; 1Th_4:9-10; 2Th_1:3; Heb_6:10-11

They did not retain that strong and ardent affection for God and sacred things which they had when first brought to the knowledge of the truth, and justified by faith in Christ.  They were new creature in Jesus Gospel and ardent in the “Love for Each Other as Followers of the Way”.

While the Hebrew and Greek words for “love” have various shades and intensities of meaning, they may be summed up in some such definition as this: Love, whether used of God or man, is an earnest and anxious desire for and an active and beneficent interest ins the well-being of the one loved. Different degrees and manifestations of this affection are recognized in the Scriptures according to the circumstances and relations of life, e.g. the expression of love as between husband and wife, parent and child, brethren according to the flesh, and according to grace; between friend and enemy, and, finally, between God and man. It must not be overlooked, however, that the fundamental idea of love as expressed in the definition of it is never absent in any one of these relations of life, even though the manifestation thereof may differ according to the circumstances and relations. Christ’s interview with the apostle Peter on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (Joh_21:15-18) sets before us in a most beautiful way the different shades of meaning as found in the New Testament words φιλέω, philéō, and ἀγαπάω, agapáō. In the question of Christ, “Lovest thou me more than these?” the Greek verb ἀαπᾶς, agapás, denotes the highest, most perfect kind of love (Latin, diligere), implying a clear determination of will and judgment, and belonging particularly to the sphere of Divine revelation. In his answer Peter substitutes the word φιλῶ, philṓ, which means the natural human affection, with its strong feeling, or sentiment, and is never used in Scripture language to designate man’s love to God. While the answer of Peter, then, claims only an inferior kind of love, as compared to the one contained in Christ’s question, he nevertheless is confident of possessing at least such love for his Lord.

There is also another important point I like to address to the reader of my Blog in regard to this assembly, and that is the mentioning of the “Nicolaitans”.

During the time of Paul there was a resurging of many false preachers, false doctrines and many other doctrines coming from other parts of the known world.  Many of them affected directly or indirectly, due to the lack of knowledge of the Gospel of the Lord disseminated through Paul as a vessel.  These were rapidly changing times in all aspect of lives such as Social, educational, military, and religious among other aspects of life.

The exact origin of the Nicolaitans is unclear. Some Bible commentators believe they were a heretical sect who followed the teachings of Nicolas (whose name means “one who conquers the people”) who was possibly one of the deacons of the early church mentioned in the Book of Act:

Act 6:5-6 LITV

(5)  And the saying was pleasing before all the multitude. And they chose out Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,

(6)  each of whom they made stand before the apostles. And having prayed, they placed their hands on them.

It is possible that Nicolas became an apostate, denying the true faith and became part of a group holding “the doctrine of Balaam,” who taught Israel “to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.” Clement of Alexandria says, “They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.
Other commentators believe that these Nicolaitans were not so called from any man, but from the Greek word “Nicolah”, meaning “let us eat,” as they often encouraged each other to eat things offered to idols. Whichever theory is true, it is certain that the deeds of the Nicolaitans were an abomination to Christ. They, like the Gnostics and other false teachers, abused the doctrine of grace and tried to introduce licentiousness in its place.

Also in accordance with Fausset’s Bible Dictionary:

Of the seven. Probably having no connection with the Nicolaitans, though Epiphanius (adv. Haer. i. 2, section 25) represents him as sinking into corrupt doctrine and practice. Clemens Alex. (Strom. iii. 4) says that Nicolas, when reproached by the apostles with jealousy, offered his wife to any to marry, but that Nicolas lived a pure life and used to quote Matthias’ saying, “we ought to abuse (i.e. mortify) the flesh.” No church honours Nicolas, but neither do they honor four others of the seven men. Confounders of Nicolas with the Nicolaitans probably originated these legends.

But in accordance with Smith Bible Dictionary:

Nic’olas. (victor of the people). Act_6:5. A native of Antioch. And a proselyte to the Jewish faith. When the church was still confined to Jerusalem, he became a convert, and being a man of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and of wisdom, he was chosen by the whole multitude of the disciples, to be one of the first seven deacons, and was ordained by the apostles. There is no reason, except the simplicity of name, for identifying Nicolas, with the sect of Nicolaitans, which our Lord denounces, for the traditions on the subject are of no value.

All that we should be concerned with is that we do not get cough on the act of the “Nicolaitans”.

God Bless You All!

The Book of Revelation:  Introduction to the Seven Assemblies

The Book of Revelation: Introduction to the Seven Assemblies

As a Review and for our benefit we will bring some important details we already cover on Chapter 1 of the Book of Revelation, and these are the following:

  1. This is the only Book on the Bible that promise a Blessing to the “Reader” and also to the “Hearers”, see the following verse;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.
  1. The Book of Revelation is a Prophetic Book, read the below verse;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.
  1. For this blessing to take effect of the prophetic Book of Revelation, we must keep the things having been written, read the verse below please;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.

All these is because one reason and one reason only for the “Follower of the WAY” (The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ), … for the time is near

It is also very important to mention that the Book of Revelation is the only Book that has what is called the “Divine Outline of the Book”. This particular point can be seen in the following verse:

  1. Rev 1:19
  • (19) Write what things you saw, and what things are, and what things are about to occur after these things.
    • …things you saw… This is use in a past sentence indicative of all the Apostle John saw in chapter one of the Book of Revelation.
    • …things are… This is use in a present way, indicative of what the Apostle witness and saw in chapters 2 and 3, which is in relation to the Seven Assemblies in the area of Asia Manor which is known today as “Turkey”
  1. (Seven Assemblies Map)
  • … things are about to occur after these things…   (meta tauta)   This is expressed in a future sentence. This is indicative of the future events once the events on chapter 1 and chapter 2 and 3 (the Seven Assemblies will go through their lives as followers and believers of the Gospel of the Lord) will take place.   This also could be seen in the following verse:
    1. Rev 4:1 LITV

After these things I saw. And behold, a door being opened in Heaven! And I heard the first voice as a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you what needs to happen after these things.

If we are capable to put this in perspective for everyone to see it in a visual way, just imagine a straight time line in where there is the Book of Revelation displayed in chapters by numbers and cause of time base on events of “past”, “present” and “future events”, this time line will look like this:

(Time Line of things and events base on the Divine Outline).

It is very important for us to bring to your attention the fact that in chapter 1 verse 4 it is mentioned the Holy Trinity of GOD, let’s see it:

Rev 1:4 LITV

(4) John to the seven assemblies in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne;

  • It does mentioned God Almighty when is referring to … His throne…
  • The Lord Jesus as …the One who is, who was, and who is coming…
    • o This could be validated by the Gospel of John chapter 1 verses 1 and 2:
      • Joh 1:1-2 LITV
      • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      • He was in the beginning with God.
    • The Holy Spirit when it does mentioned … the seven spirits which are before His throne…
      • o Read the following verse;
        • Isa 11:2 LITV
        • And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; He will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.
          • These are known as the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit (count the underline description on the above verse)

Continuing our journey to the beginning of the Seven Assemblies (Revelation chapters 2-3) is very important to notice the Seven Assemblies during these two chapters in Revelation mentioned, unless you are in deep knowledge of the Asia Manor area and or the Middle Eastern history, you otherwise will not know these assemblies. The question remain of, Why these particular assemblies? Why more important assemblies of their time are not mentioned?   Such assemblies are the assembly of Antioch (Paul’s headquarters assemblies), the assembly of Jerusalem, the assembly of Corinth and so on. The question remains, why?

The Bible (The Word of GOD) is a collection of 66 Books written by more than 40 Authors with different backgrounds, written in 3 different languages, through a time of approximately 1500 years with a divine engineering precision in where everything has a meaning and a time. For the Followers of the Way (Jesus Christ or Lord) means that the Bible is without a doubt the Word of GOD and has a Divine Authority.

Understanding this is why the question of “why these seven assemblies” in particular and not other assembly were chosen but these.   Let’s make reference to our Seven Assemblies Map in a PDF File to refresh our memories on their location.   (Seven Assemblies Map).

  1. These seven assemblies were real geographical locations of temples and assemblies of the time.
  2. As warning or reprimand to all the assemblies, in fact the seven letters applied to all the seven assemblies. Read the following verse:
  • Rev 1:11 LITV
    • (11) saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last; also, What you see, write in a scroll, and send to the seven assemblies of Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.
  1. This also could be taken as a personal advised (homiletic) in order for the believer to keep him/her in the right track of the Word of God and keeping the things having been written because the “time is near”.
  • Rev 2:7 LITV
  • (7) The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. …

There is one important point of view that could very well, and in my personal and humble opinion, is the strongest of all the points mentioned, which is from a prophetic and historical point of view.

If you remember the Book of Acts is the last Book in the Bible that mentioned anything about the development and circumstances in were the assembly of the Lord went through from a historical view for about 30 years. There are some points that had been gathered with the Apostle’s epistles and letters, but many gaps exist. My believe is that these Seven Assemblies, and very specially due because the order in were they are mentioned in the Bible and only the order in were they are mentioned, tells us the rest of the story. These Seven assemblies are:

  1. Ephesus
  2. Smyrna
  3. Pergamos
  4. Thyatira
  5. Sardis
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Laodicea

(Time Line of the Church History base on the Seven Assemblies)