Wednesday, November 22, 2017

JEWELS From The GOSPEL Of JOHN: MEAT and GREET - JOHN 4:32-38

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 4:32-38
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

It was stated earlier in this chapter that the LORD "must needs" go through Samaria (JOHN 4:4) - and we know why: he had an appointment with a certain Samaritan woman, and later in this chapter, others from the city of Sychar, to deliver the Gospel and present Himself as the Messiah. After his conversation with the woman, and her discovery of Who the LORD truly is, she leaves hurriedly to find others and tell them the good news.

In the meanwhile, His disciples return from town with the food they were asked to get, and they beseech the LORD to eat - and this is where we pick it up.

He tells them that He has sustenance that they are not aware of, and they are perplexed, wondering where He got His meal from. But then the LORD clarifies His statement and explains that His "meat" is to do the will of the Father, and to finish it.

We all need to eat, since the day we were born; sustenance sustains us and keeps us alive. Without it, we would starve - and desperate people resorted to desperate measures when faced with starvation, and famine.
Israel knew such peril in her history, in the same region we find ourselves here: in Samaria.

2 KINGS 6:24-26
24 And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

Much dispute surrounds the correct identification of "dove's dung" but whatever it was (chick pea-like vegetable, or small wild onions), it wasn't considered a typical staple in good times, but an item of last resort when no other food was available. Certainly a donkey's skull (used in a soup perhaps?) sounds entirely unappetizing!

When there is lack of God's Word in our lives, the spiritual knowledge of the most High that feeds our souls, is there such desperation to find it, as we would when food scarcity threatens our physical lives?

We know what Job had to say about food he required in order to survive:

JOB 23:12
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food
.


 That which sustained our LORD, His "meat" was to do the will of the Father. This brought nourishment to His Soul, encouragement to His Mind and resilience to His Spirit. To fulfill the purpose of the Father is the ultimate satisfaction for our LORD.
And for us as well.

Even people in the world find contentment when they can find some purpose in life, something to live for, a reason to get up in the morning as a motivating factor that keeps them going.

How much more so, should the saint of God find contentment in the purposes, the eternal purposes that He has prepared for us!

EPHESIANS 1:4-13
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

We are accepted, chosen, predestinated and adopted and sealed by God as His beloved, since before the foundation of the world! Think about that! For the purpose of becoming holy and have a love relationship with our Creator! And it was (and is!) His good pleasure to do so! All made possible by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, in accordance with His grace.
He has blessed us with wisdom, prudence, understanding of His will according to His purposes and counsel - and as such become a praise for His glory's sake, based on faith ("trust") in Him!

Finding God's purpose for your life, and fulfilling that purpose is truly "meat" for us, and drink as well - all the spiritual sustenance we could possibly need - and then some!

There are the purposes of propagating the Gospel that we ourselves have received, delivering it to the lost, so that they might also understand these mysteries. This is a glorious work that we enter into, harvesting where others before have planted; laboring fervently in as much as we are "fed" such vital nourishment of knowing the LORD, understanding His Word and His will, and walking in obedience to such.

Just as Jacob of the Old Testament and much later, John the Baptist planted, these disciples are reaping; spiritual co-laborers in God's Kingdom. Likewise just as Paul and Apollos labored together, it was God that gave the increase (1 COR 3:6-8). And the labors will receive their wages, that is, rewards granted at the bema-seat of Christ on that blessed Day (2 COR 5:9-11).

May we seek to know the will of our Father, and pursue Him with greater tenacity than we would pursue our refrigerator when we are hungry! Perhaps you haven't had much of a spiritual appetite for the Word of God lately?

When we fast from food for more than three or four days, our appetites diminish because our stomachs 'shut down' and remains so for over a month if we continue to fast. Once past that time, the body, having not received any nourishment will begin to cannibalize itself - and if that continues, our bodies will waste away until we starve to death.

But once we decide to break a fast of any considerable length of time (say a week or more), we can't resume our regular diet with the same volume as before. That could actually kill you! One needs to slowly digest simple carbs and liquids, gradually building up to more solid foods and proteins. 

It's the same thing spiritually - you will need to force yourself to eat: begin small, but be intent on gradually increasing. And you will find your spiritual appetite increasing, and become robust and strong once again, being sustained by knowing and obeying the will of the Father according to His Word.

You will know the blessing of engaging in the work that God has purposed for you, and to one day finish that work, just as the LORD did, and Paul: See JOHN 17; also:

2 TIM 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

FROM CONSPIRACY TO CHRIST: The Testimony of Andrew Spod Godkin

The following is a testimony from a dear brother "from across the pond" in England. I met him online with Facebook, and after getting to know each other a bit, and learning how he came to know the LORD, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about this. 
When he gave me a bit more detail, I asked if he would be willing to share his testimony with us all, and he agreed. So, the following is the testimony of Andrew Spod Godkin: I pray that it ministers and reaches people, particularly those who are on the same road that he was on - and how it all led him from conspiracy to Christ.

My childhood was very much a normal one, I would say; no abuse at all, nothing out of the ordinary, and my parents are still together after 51 years, so no suffering a divorced and broken family. 

I think the way I was brought up gave me respect for others; I am polite to everyone, and so for that I am thankful. We didn't have a lot of money and I could not have everything I wanted, so I had to learn to do without the things that some other kids had. This also taught me to look after my things ("look after your things and they will look after you").


We’re not a very open and close family with regards to talking about things and getting deep into any topics. I think it's quite hard to show our affection for one another (something that I wish was different but that's just the way it is) but besides all this I don't doubt their love for me, it's just different from how I see some others around me growing up. 

I don't think my parents are believer's but if they were and did believe my efforts in trying to help them see, they would most likely keep it to themselves (Although I did find out that they both went to Bible classes as youth). I have tried and still do try to talk about these things to them, but only ever get little response back.
They can't argue what I try to show them, but at the same time, they don't really want to discuss it any further. 
 I will continue to pray for them.

Growing up into my teens I very much floated through school and pretty much accepted what life told me was true, never for a minute thinking anybody would lie to us in the way that they do. So, as I got older as a young adult my thoughts were: If evolution is true, then of course aliens must be out there, etc. so I had a big interest in everything to do with life elsewhere. 

I guess sometimes I thought that I must not be from here, because the way that people treat one another and crap on each other, I just did not understand why and how they could do it so freely without having any conscience about their actions. 


It wasn't until my life progressed and bad things started to happen to me (and others) which I felt were unfair; in relationships for example, and being ripped off by someone for being so gullible of your hard-earned cash. Realising that things even your parents told you about the world wasn't true, I became more and more untrusting of the world and its people. Perhaps it’s when you learn these things it starts to make you think to yourself, Everyone else is like that so I may as well be like that too

No matter what people did or how they made me feel, even though I thought of bad things and how to retaliate, I still was determined not to let these bad experiences of being cheated on (in just about every relationship) make me be the same way and then I turn pass that on to someone else who didn't deserve it. 

Then I understood that the world which I lived in, I was never going to be successful; I didn't have what it took to be ruthless; and it seemed that only the crooked succeeded mainly (but also some few hard-working people too).
I think each negative experience that happened to me in life, set me up to search for truth and again, it made me very untrusting of the world and its people. 

My brother (I have two) was massively into 'house' music or electronic dance music, which I myself got into (because of him) and it became my focus, hobby and passion – my source of happiness and place to go to feel good. However it also at the same time led me down a path of women, drink, drugs many parties and late nights, expanding my mind and thoughts on life's bigger questions. Some of which I thought woke me up in some small way, but this does not truly happen, I would say until you know the truth of Jesus

Yeah, you may have looked a little further into things than the average person but at the end of the day, without Jesus you are still very much lost and nothing can truly make sense

So, through all this I guess I thought to myself that I was an 'OK guy' by the world's standards but in reality, I am no better than the rest and have my own secrets and dark thoughts just like anyone else when they think they are alone.

I had no background whatsoever in any kind of religion or Christianity and neither did the people around me (that I knew of). At no point in my life did I ever think I would be on this path as a believer in the one and only, true and living God.
During my youthful clubbing days I was always around the party scene (complete with drugs) which is how I met my long term girlfriend who I was in a relationship with for 13 years; we had a house and two dogs. I thought I would eventually marry her, have children and grow old together.


This relationship was full of partying, drugs and alcohol, and although I never lost control, it just seemed what most youth do around here nowadays. So, nights going on very late and right into the next day – even going out and doing it all again the night after – (in my early days), burning the candle at both ends so to speak.

I had a passion for all things involving music especially electronic; I was a DJ, loved clubbing and would even go as far as saying that music was my God. I was always around the party scene on a weekend (complete with drugs) and met my girlfriend during one of these times. 

Although I always thought deep down this would eventually calm down in my life, it didn’t. During this time, I had also been a smoker of marijuana (for the past 18 years of my life); it was something I very much enjoyed.

This lifestyle hadn’t affected me work wise. I had always gone to work and paid my way. By the world’s standards I didn’t think I was a bad guy in general; I was quite pleasant and got on with most folk easy enough.

Getting back to my girlfriend: eventually I had some quite rough patches in my relationship and found out I was being cheated on around the time when we were supposed to move into a lovely country cottage. So, in the end we split up and went our separate ways quite quickly; that was back in November of 2013.

This was quite a gutting, embarrassing experience for me which brought me down to earth with a crash. I was greatly upset at this time; I felt some anger as well and a greater loss of trust in people.

I moved in with an old friend I used to hang around with before meeting my girlfriend as I couldn’t afford to live by myself. This friend happened to be the place in my life where I first began my marijuana smoking journey; it just so happened that he was also growing it himself. So then, this looked like what my life was going to shape up to be because I enjoyed smoking it and was quite content.

I thought to myself, This is who I am and if I meet another lady, she will just have to accept this. However, it was always a drain on my money – I had even tried to stop a few times but never seemed able to get away from it (besides the never-ending joints I smoked, I also used an E-cigarette for about 4 years previous to moving in with my friend).

So, anyway during the next two-year period at my friend’s house (after my split from my girlfriend), I began searching for some kind of truth in the world:  looking into all kinds of so called conspiracies.
Anything from the twin towers, to UFOs, ancient civilisations and then I eventually came across things like the new world order, the Freemasons and Illuminati, etc. I began to see that there was something seriously wrong with our world, but still nothing close to the truth about Jesus.


Then I remember one particular conspiracy which I actually think is leading others down the same path I went down.  It's the one about fluoride being put in our water to perhaps dumb us down as a society. So, I looked further into this, which led me to hearing about the fluoride causing some kind calcification of the pineal gland (otherwise known as the third eye) crystallising it and stopping it from opening.

I know now that this was leading me into New Age things and secret knowledge etc. but at the time I was wondering, ‘What does this third eye do?’ I was very intrigued.
This again led into something else: I began looking into ancient civilisations in general and specifically into Egyptian and Sumerian; as well as this, the possibility of a spirituality of some sort. It seemed there was a whole lot more going on in all of this; the rabbit hole deepened even more, but still with no answers.

I came across a documentary called ‘DMT the spirit molecule’ and I was fascinated by it. In it, people were talking about this apparently ancient drug which is a component also found in Ayahuasca (which is a drink Shamans brewed in jungles in places like Peru); they were having strange but interesting spiritual psychedelic journeys that sometimes brought them (in their minds) into very similar experiences and meetings with strange entities.

People appeared to be having what almost seemed like religious type experiences/visions or somehow connecting to higher being –  perhaps even God? I got curious, and for me this was more than just taking another drug like the ones I did in my previous years (ecstasy and marijuana mainly, closely followed by cocaine and amphetamines; also, ketamine a few times too). I became convinced it was a gateway to the spirit realm (something I still believe today*).

[*Note to reader by James: The word for "witchcraft" in the Greek as used in GAL 5:20 is pharmekia, which is where we get the word pharmaceuticals - or drugs. Drugs have long been used by various cultures to perceive the spiritual realm, but that is the realm of darkness.]

I researched DMT thoroughly; something I had not really done with previous drugs and was convinced it wasn’t like an addictive drug and is only something to try every once in a while, with no danger of getting hooked on it. I also researched other people on youtube videos, documentaries, etc.

To cut an already long story short, I managed to get my hands on some of this drug. It was the scariest and strangest thing I have ever experienced, hands down. I tried a few times but couldn't seem to get into it deep enough and reach the point that these other people reached in their experiences. Yet what I did experience convinced me of the spirit world.
I will try to explain parts of some trips I had but without the whole story as I don’t really want to glorify this substance as it isn’t the main focus of this testimony. 

The first time I tried it, it seemed to have an almost ‘Egyptian type’ of feeling to it, seeing some kind of strange stone wheel that was turning around; it had writing along the edges that was either hieroglyphs of some kind or alien writing. The wheel stopped, and it felt like time had stopped which is hard to explain; but it felt like I was outside of time

On another occasion, upon smoking some more of this drug, I couldn’t tell if I was still breathing or not upon taking. I can remember thinking ‘Am I still breathing?” And it was then I heard what sounded like a female voice in my ear saying in a ghostly voice, “breeeeeeeathe”. 

Usually I closed my eyes when I sat and experienced these trips in my room; but one time it felt like my head was being scanned somehow and I didn’t want to open them – but eventually I did: the whole room looked distorted and vibrating almost horror-style like.

The only time I saw something close to an entity was when a trip was wearing off and it appeared as though light began breaking through my wall; a face appeared which looked like a lion. It was just looking at me. I’m thankful that I didn’t interact with it but that was in fact, the only time I saw something that seemed like a being of some sort.

Anyway, after a few of these experiences and being convinced of a spirit realm I began to think that if this is real, then there must be a dark side to all this. Because my experiences so far, felt very scary, I thought to myself whilst researching a darker side of spirituality,that demons must be real too if I believed in the Spirit world. I didn't enjoy watching/researching this stuff, I just wanted to know what we could possibly be dealing with and what I could have been getting myself into (unknowingly). This also led me into more research into even more satanic things and twisted people like occultist Aleister Crowley who seems to have greatly influenced many high profile people (celebrities) that were or still are in the public eye today with his writings and practises. The Beatles, Ozzie Osborn, David Bowie, Led zeppelin and Jay Z just to name a few I found.

I decided one day, before I thought about trying DMT again, that I would pray as I had no one else to ask about what I was doing or even to talk to that would understand, so I just prayed saying ‘Lord’ in quite a humble way, to ask if what I was experimenting with and searching for was the right path in looking for answers, some kind of truth to the world; I’m not sure what I was searching for but now I believe it was God.


The next day, I felt I got an answer in the form of a video popping up in my feed.  It was someone I previously was into, but had decided he was part of this secret world system too, what with all his connections. In the video he was only championing this DMT stuff (I think this would only make sense to me as an answer to my prayer, but it worked). I decided then and there to stop what I was embarking on and began searching even more into these trip experiences of people who were experimenting with this drug. 

People under the influence of this, eventually came to the conclusion that “we are all one and all God” (which is pantheism). This raised some big red flags and I thought to myself ‘this stinks of new world order deception’!

Some conspiracy videos I came across also had Bible scriptures in them and one video was even exposing churches that were involved in these conspiracies. Very shortly after, I can't really explain why, but it seemed like a few connections from all the things I had ever watched and researched all joined together and started making more sense in my head as to why the world seemed so corrupt.

Then one night, in August of 2015, while alone in my room I had a moment of realization: Ahhh it's all been a trick, God is real, Jesus must be real’ I then thought how am I going to explain this to people (laughing to myself); that I really believed it all. Thinking, People will think I’m a nutter, but it was all true! 

In that same moment I then realised that God had seen everything I had ever done, every little bit of it and I then regretted a few things I hadn't previously regretted; some actions in the past and ones I still did.


Things like smoking cannabis, taking drugs, looking at porn, masturbation and the sexually immoral things I’d done; all my secrets where I thought I was alone. Also, my relationship I spoke of:  My ex-girlfriend at one time (three years into our relationship) was pregnant and decided she didn't want to keep it.  At the time I decided to stand by whatever decision she made (which was abortion). I totally thought it was the right thing to do given our situation money wise and because she was wanting to further her career at the time. So, I stood by her.

This now, I also realised was wrong to do, even though I don't think I really had much of a part in deciding overall – still felt bad about it and wish I’d tried to persuade her to keep it. 

Shortly after thinking Jesus is real, the Bible is real, we have been lied to in a big way, I thought, How can I talk to God stoned and learn the Bible? 

So, I decided to quit smoking cannabis – and haven't looked back or even felt like going back to it at all (even though previously I had pretty much committed to smoking it the rest of my life)!  

It felt easy to quit too, not like before, so I believe my new faith in Jesus freed me from this, as it did with masturbation, porn, fornication, taking God’s name in vain and swearing too (used to swear every other word) . . . I don’t drink at all now either (that was never a big problem), but I don’t feel the need to get in that kind of state of being anymore.

Looking back, I remember that my ex-girlfriend was a nightmare when drunk which put me off it. Now I could say I would never do those things again, never feel tempted around those things again, never even want those of things in my life anymore.

I generally stay away from my old life and friends although I still speak to them; I just don’t go drinking with them or do anything I used to do with them. My close friends and family all know my belief now and even people at work

I have moved back to my parents to get my finances in order. I have decided to have a go at growing vegetables and took on an allotment growing food as a side hobby to me learning all things biblical in my spare time after work.

I don't really feel the need to do anything but learn the Bible nowadays and don’t feel I am missing out on old things. I just want to learn.

Just before I moved back home, a girl showed interest in me; I explained the path I was on but hadn't learnt a lot from the Bible at that point. Still didn't know much about fornication and godly relationships. So, one thing led to another, we slept together, and I thought things might be going well.

I really wish I hadn’t done this, but it’s a mistake I’ve made on my journey which I wanted to share, as I don’t want people to think it has been straight forward; and even though my life has improved and my person, I learnt more about fornication and felt mortified, upset with myself for doing this so shortly after believing in Christ.
I was so upset that I prayed saying I was sorry and that I would end the relationship but also asked God to help me end it. 


I had decided I was going to tell her that the path I'm on isn't going to work with her, but as it happened she seemed to just go her own way; it just fizzled out as fast as it started. 
I was so happy when this happened; I decided not to fornicate again, and stay single for the rest of my life unless of course, I could possibly meet a likeminded Christian girl (Bible believing woman) willing to wait to get married and do things properly (even though I believed it made my chances real slim, but who knows what God has in store?). 
If it's right it will happen; if not I'm not going to worry too much about it. I just don't want to displease the Lord.

I realise I am a sinner before God's eyes and that we all are because of the original sin of Adam. No amount of good deeds could ever make me righteous before God (ISAIAH 64:6) There is nothing I could ever do to merit or earn myself a place in God’s kingdom, it is a gift (EPHESIANS 2:8-9) in which we are justified freely by his grace (ROMANS 3:24-26) and we are saved unto good works (EPHESIANS 2:10) not for our salvation but as a show of our faith and because it’s our reasonable service (ROMANS 12:1).

You must be born again JOHN 3:3, which is what I firmly believe happened to me to change my life in this experience that I am sharing with you.


Jesus is the only way, the only truth to this place we live in and the only way to eternal life with God (JOHN 14:6). I am going to cling tightly to it and place all my faith in Him. I hope He finishes the good work he has started in me. All glory be to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Part of my conversion is a little bit vague. I think because for me, I did not have much Bible background knowledge from my life or childhood. The parts of the Bible I really knew from school: that Jesus (I did not know who he actually was) was crucified, but I never really knew exactly why. I always thought that it was just unfair he was killed in such a way.

So, I guess the single moment upon my conversion/realisation of the truth, although I'm not quite sure how I came to understand this but must have come from the snippets of scripture I was seeing within videos online exposing the truth. I came to the realisation that He wasn't killed against His will, that He wasn't just some wise man or guru, with good teachings, I believed that Jesus is God in the flesh and that he  willingly laid down his life for all of us; that He died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world (of course rising on the third day beating death) and also that this was all supposed to happen. It's been planned all along to set us free (all that believe the truth) from sin and from this current world set up and the course that we are/were  all heading on (hell).  

Something which I still can't fully explain or quite get my head around, is the Godhead; and  although scriptures show Jesus described in very much the same way as the Father, yet at the same time his role is also very much doing the will of the Father as the Son of God. However it works, the scriptures say that the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost are One (1 JOHN 5:7).

As a new Christian I used to watch some channels that made me question whether my journey in Jesus was real. I'm better with that now through searching the scriptures and prayer and research. I believe God somehow led me here (He must have, I would not be on this path at all). Some days are good, and I feel calm and at peace then others I worry about the world and people going the wrong way, deceptions and more coming, etc.

So here I am currently, I work and mostly spend my days studying the Bible, listening to sermons and learning about the satanic world we live in. My walk hasn’t been easy so far, and the whole area of Christianity is another mine field of its own, regarding part truths and deceptions.
And all God’s people said, Amen.

An AFTERWORD by ANDREW:

Before eventually being trodden down in life, this belief in Jesus and 'Christianity' was something I felt sure I would never pursue and was just like any other religion. I thought people who followed these things were just deceived themselves, but not me. Of course, the other religions of the world are (unfortunately) deceived – although there are nice people within all those areas.

What we must understand is that even Satan quoted scripture. As a new Christian we need to be aware of this fact; when people everywhere are all throwing scriptures at you, but they don't agree with each other on anything, that tells you something right there. Deception and conspiracy are everywhere and there is an answer to these things: the Bible is the best way to learn and know the truth; and once you are armed a little better, then I think you can venture into teachings and know better if what they are saying is right or wrong. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SEVEN ‘FROM The HEART of JESUS’ LOVE-LETTERS to the SEVEN CHURCHES of REVELATION - To The Church of Thyatira

Church #4 THYATIRA:
REV 2:18-29
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Thyatira was a smaller city located further inland in the fertile Lycus River valley. Little is known of its history beyond the fact that it once belonged to the kingdom of Pergamum, and few archaeological remains have been found.

Yet the message to Thyatira is the longest of the seven messages: elven verses (as opposed to the letter to Smyrna which was only four verses). According to ACTS 16:14, Thyatira was the home of Lydia, a "dealer in purple cloth" and a "worshiper of God" whom Paul encountered at Philippi in Macedonia. The reference suggests the city's significance relating to the dye industry, and perhaps also the relative freedom and mobility of at least some of its women in pursuing careers.

The situation at Thyatira was similar to that at Pergamum, except that the false teaching (and consequently the calling-out) centers on a single individual. This is unique in the seven messages. Antipas, the only other named individual (REV 2:13), was singled out for praise and commendation rather than scorn or condemnation.

That woman Jezebel, by contrast (v. 20), is most likely not her real name but a nickname of sorts, after Israel's idolatrous queen (1 KINGS 16:31; 21:25) whose terrible fate at the hands of Jehu was prophesied by Elijah (1 KINGS 21:23; 2 KINGS 9:30-37).

The power and influence of this Jezebel, a self-styled prophetess at Thyatira, must be viewed in light of three facts: (1) women prophesied freely in early Christianity (see, for example, ACTS 2:17; 21:9; 1 COR 11:5); (2) women often played major roles as priestesses in contemporary Roman and Eastern cults in Asia Minor; (3) the Christian Montanist movement in the same region a century later assigned conspicuous leadership roles to two prophetesses--Priscilla and Maximilla (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.14-19).

In the procession of these seven churches representing seven periods of time in church history, Thyatira represents the period starting after Constantine’s edit of Milan that brought freedom to Christian expression of faith and alleviated their persecution, through the rise in power of the Roman Catholic church to the time of the Protestant Reformation. 

As the primary representation for Thyatira is the Roman Catholic church, with its 1000 year history, the name of this city is quite interesting: It means ‘sacrifice’ and one may immediately think of the Eucharist, in which, according to Roman Catholic dogma – is the perpetual, never-ending sacrifice of Christ, who is crucified afresh on the altar of every Mass, conducted in every one of their churches, the world over.  
  
Vs. 18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Once again as we have seen previously with the other three churches, Thyatira is addressed by the LORD with certain attributes that are relevant to them specifically: He is the Son of God – as opposed to the one revered in that church by Jezebel and her followers – the ‘mother of God’ or the “queen of heaven” (JER 7:18; 44:17-19, 25), a title originally attributed to Semiramis, the consort of Nimrod, King of Babylon* – and such titles were transferred by the Roman Catholic church to the person of Mary, the Mother of God. Semiramis supposedly gave birth to Tammuz her son immaculately – a virgin birth!**

*KNOW YOUR ENEMY – Part Five: Semiramis

**KNOW YOUR ENEMY – Part Nine: The Birth of Tammuz and Polytheism


The LORD’s eyes are a flame of fire – (DEUT 4:24; HEB 12:29) and fire is that which tests and purifies – imperishable materials like gold, silver and crystal are refined by fire, whereas perishable materials like wood are destroyed by fire. 
Spiritually speaking it is the same – that which is born of God is imperishable because we have eternal life, and the fire of God refines and strengthens us: we all know what a ‘trial by fire’ is! 

Yet for the saint, this is a blessing! For those not born of God’s Spirit, the fire of God represents judgment and destruction. So, for those of Thyatira – there should’ve been cause for careful consideration of their lives, their conduct and beliefs which offended the LORD. He says that His feet are like fine brass – and again, just as fire is a symbol for judgment upon the unrepentant sinner, so too is brass (ISAIAH 63:2-4 refers to the LORD coming in judgment, and will trod the winepress (a representation of wicked)).

God’s judgment of our sin fell upon His Son Christ Jesus: and in the Old Testament, there was prophetic significance to the various sacrifices: particularly relevant in regard to judgment was the Bronze (or brass) altar where burnt offerings were made for the sins of the people, so that the people were not charged with punishment, but rather the sacrifice that took their place under God’s judgment (EXOD 40:10, 29).

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

We often think of the Roman Catholic church as it is during our own period, and that institution is full of false doctrine and corruption. What we may not appreciate is that it didn’t start out this way – back when it was just the church at Rome, there was a lot to be commended. And even once the corruption started to take hold, there was still a lot of good works, charity, service and faith, patience – and more works; and that the condition started to improve over time (This was different from Ephesus, which started out well, but began to degrade).

Just like Ephesus, who in the midst of all the commendation, suddenly heard “nevertheless” – Thyatira is here told, “notwithstanding” . . .

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Ephesus had a single, vitally important oversight to repent of: they left their first (best) love; however, Thyatira has “a few things” that the LORD is against and He specifically addresses the “angell” – the pastor – on these issues:

1) He (the pastor) allows the false prophetess to teach. It is doubtful that this woman’s name was really Jezebel – could you imagine a Jewish mother naming her child Adolf? However, the name is apt, because just as Jezebel, wife of Ahab, brought in over 800 prophets of Baal and Astarte (1 KINGS 18:19) to sway Israel away from YHWH and to the pagan gods of her own nation, so this woman was bringing in “damnable heresies” (2 PET 2:1).

The power and influence of this Jezebel, a self-styled prophetess at Thyatira, must be viewed in light of three facts: (1) women prophesied freely in early Christianity (see, for example, ACTS 2:17; 21:9; 1 COR 11:5); (2) women often played major roles as priestesses in contemporary Roman and Eastern cults in Asia Minor; (3) the Christian Montanist movement in the same region a century later assigned conspicuous leadership roles to two prophetesses--Priscilla and Maximilla (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.14-19).

2) She is permitted to seduce the LORD’s servants to commit fornication. As mentioned previously in the study of Pergamos, temple prostitution in honor of the pagan gods was a common practice, but in this instance, such fornication could have, and very well may have spiritual implications. “Whoredoms” in Scripture is often in reference to the people of God being unfaithful to the LORD, and instead, serving other gods (or sometimes both) – and this is seen as the spiritual form of fornication by the LORD (JER 2:20; 3:1-8; EZEK 16:15-28).

The risen Christ Jesus makes no distinction between prophets who condone idolatry and immorality and those who practice such things. He compares Jezebel to a prostitute, like the Mother of Harlots (false religions) "Babylon" in REV 17-18. She has had time to repent, but has not done so

Her punishment is to be put to bed (v. 22), "a bed of sickness in contrast with the bed of adultery" (Beckwith 1922:467). Her followers at Thyatira (those who commit adultery with her) still have time to repent, but are similarly in danger of intense, though unspecified, sufferings

3) She persuades them to eat things sacrificed to idols. We don’t know specifically what sort of idols these were that the people were persuaded to sacrifice to; ultimately, it’s not important to know this. What is vitally important is the fact that they are sacrificing to any idol whatsoever, and not devoting their entire heart to the LORD instead.
Obviously, this is a blatant violation of the commandment of the LORD:

EXOD 20:1-5
And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lordthy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

As Thyatira is representative of that period of time of the Roman Catholic church, these rebukes by the LORD are notably fitting of that institution: they have a different Jesus than the biblical Jesus, and He is worshiped by them – along with the ‘Mother of God’, Mary – who in some parishes, she is exalted to the unbiblical and lofty position of co-redemptrix!

The Roman Catholic church is vigorously promoting the visionsof ‘Mary’ that are appearing all over the world with ever increasing frequency; certainly, a manifestation of deception brought about by demonic influences. 

There is also the veneration of the host – the Eucharist, which is supposed to be the very body and very blood of Christ, transformed by the priest by the act of transubstantiation from bread and wine. This would certainly qualify as “eating things sacrificed to idols”! 

Of course anything in our lives that we consider more important than our LORD Jesus: our spouse or family, our career, or money, hobbies, etc. – these are all considered idols that must be struck down and removed from us, we who are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Here we see the grace of God in evidence! Even though Jezebel and her followers were committing grievous sin by seducing God’s people, judgment did not come upon them instantly, but the LORD demonstrated longsuffering by providing her an opportunity to repent.

The fact that she – and her followers apparently – did not, resulted in the LORD’s intention to cast her “and them that commit adultery with her” into a time of chastening? Of corrective action? No: “into great tribulation” it says (“except they repent” – so there is still the loophole of grace offered even then!).

The church of Smyrna was already in tribulation (and poverty and suffering; see REV 2:9-10) that would last for a time period, after which they would be relieved, and they would continue. However, this time in which their tribulation would persist would affect “some” (vs. 10) to the degree of martyrdom – this is not the same as “great tribulation”. The LORD spoke of this time period:

MATT 24:15-22
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

This time of great tribulation would occur once the “abomination of desolation” occurs “in the holy place” which is to say, the image of the Beast (anti-Christ) is set up in the Holy of holies in the near-future rebuilt Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem (See: 2 THESS 2:3-4; REV13:14-15).

So what Smyrna was suffering and what Thyatira was promised are two different forms of tribulation. Smyrna suffered tribulation at the hands of their persecutors; the great tribulation is a judgment upon those, who like Jezebel, refuse to repent and receive genuine salvation in Christ, and instead partake of their own religion(s).

Thyatira (those guilty of the sin the LORD mentions) was the only church that was promised “great tribulation” just as the church of Philadelphia was promised that the LORD would “. . . keep them from the hour of temptation that will come upon all the world to test them which dwell on the Earth” (REV 3:10) – Why? Because the church at Philadelphia “kept the Word of [the LORD’s] patience” unlike those in Thyatira that were engaged in false worship and idolatry.

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

I will simply say that the LORD knows the works in our lives, what we do day by day, and He will render to each and every one of us the fruit of those labors: from the works of Thyatira, these resulted in death of “her children”. That is the spiritual fate of those who hate the doctrine of God’s truth; having itching ears is spiritually fatal (2 TIM 4:3).

24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

Just as there are the deep things of God (1 COR 2:10), there are also the ‘deep things of Satan (“the depths of Satan”)’ which I believe will manifest during the time of the Great Tribulation when the One World Religion rules, the Mystery Babylon (see chapters in REV 17; 18). 

I believe that the Roman Catholic church will (and to a large degree, already is) spearheading a one world religion. For those who reject this Jezebel doctrine, the LORD admonishes them to hold fast. This holds true for Thyatira, and it will hold fast for those who will have to endure that time of Great Tribulation, under the reign of anti-Christ, who refuse the mark of the Beast (666): to endure to the end (MATT 10:22; 24:13).

That the LORD could speak to Thyatira and encourage them to hold on until He comes, speaks of the doctrine of imminence, that is, that we should expect the LORD’s return at any time, at any moment. He could have returned then during that time period; but we continue to watch and pray because we don’t know the time of His return – we know the seasons, but not the exact day or hour (MARK 13:31-33; 1 THESS 5:1-2).

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Again, the church of Thyatira is representative of church history when the Roman Catholic church dominated the world, for well over 1000 years. It was the ambition of popes to rule the world as ‘king of kings and lord of lords’ (titles exclusive to the LORD Jesus Christ Himself (REV 19:16).

But what Thyatira is promised – as are all the saints who are overcomers and keep the LORD’s works which He has prepared for us (EPH 2:10) is that we shall rule the nations with a rod of iron – which speaks of our co-regency, our rule along with Christ Who Himself will rule with this same rod of iron, as granted by the Father (PSALM 2:9; REV 12:5; 19:15). The LORD grants to the overcomes, “the morning star” which is He Himself (REV 22:16). The morning star is the brightest object in the sky just before dawn, when the night is at its darkest.

The world will certainly be at its darkest during the reign of the Beast, when Satan is worshiped openly by the vast majority of this world. But the hope is, that the morning star will appear, and that just before the rising of the SON (of GOD)! He Who will come to reign upon the throne of David as the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world (LUKE 1:31-33)!


Here ends the longest segment of this series; next we will look at the church at Sardis.

Friday, October 20, 2017

SEVEN ‘FROM The HEART of JESUS’ LOVE-LETTERS to the SEVEN CHURCHES of REVELATION - To The Church of Pergamos

Church #3 PERGAMOS:
REV 2:12-17
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The name Pergamos comes from a Greek word which was synonymous with “tower” or “citadel” that was associated with the goddess Roma, or in other cultures as Cybele, whose worshipers were engaged in religious fertility rites that resulted in women getting pregnant due to temple prostitution, and the infants born as a result were offered up as burnt sacrifices to their gods.

Although the majority of Pergamos’ monuments now sit in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, enough remains of the Acropolis for the visitor to sense the former greatness of the city that once rivaled Alexandria, Ephesus and Antioch in culture and commerce (it was almost as wealthy as Smyrna), and medicine. 
The healing temple of the god, Aesculapius* was located here at Pergamos, where it was believed that serpents held the power to heal;  [and then there is] “Satan’s Throne,” as described by the apostle John of Patmos (REV 2:12-13), which some scholars interpret as referring to the Great Altar of Pergamon, one of the most magnificent surviving structures from the Greco-Roman world. Other temples in the Acropolis are those dedicated to Zeus as well as Athena.

[*- The symbol of Aesculapius was adopted by American Medical Officials and Institutions,
the caduceus (See image at this link) – a rod with two snakes intertwined however this is not the ancient symbol of healing, but the representation of commerce and trade! The actual symbol of the healing arts of Aesculapius is a rod with a single snake (see picture at this link)] 

Given the fact that the city represented the highest and most esteemed example of Hellenistic Greek culture, traditions and religion in both its [beliefs] and its very architecture, early Christians viewed it as a bastion of all that was anathema.
When Cyrus conquered Babylon (539 BC), they founded a new center at Pergamos and that king became the high priest of the pagan system: Pontifex Maximus (Pember).

Both Hislop and Pember trace the subsequent transfer of the cult from Pergamos to Rome, with the appointment of successive Caesars as high priest and ultimately, to that office in 378 A.D. of Damasus, the Bishop of Rome, with the complete and permanent absorption of “Babylonianism” into the Roman Church (re: Thyatira).

Once again, we read how that the LORD identifies Himself with attributes and virtues that the church He is addressing, needs:

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

Pergamos is known as the compromised church – from Constantine to the time of pre-eminence of the Roman Catholic church; it was a church of ‘mixed multitude’ or literally ‘per’ “mixed or corrupted” and ‘gamy’ marriage: “a mixed marriage” (between the church and the world, much like the children of Israel back in the days of the Exodus); they were a mix of believers and non-believers. 



The LORD is the One with “the sharp sword with two edges” – Who is able to divide (HEB 4:12-13) the true believers from the false.

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

As we know, the word for martyr in the Greek is martos, and originally it meant someone who was a witness, a person who would testify in court. Yet it came to mean a person who would witness of the truth that is Jesus Christ and the Gospel and was willing, and often was, put to death for it. Antipas was such a witness, and the LORD testifies of him as well as those like him in the church of Pergamos “[His] faithful witness”; the LORD Himself is that faithful witness of the Father, as described in REV 1:5 as well.

The church of Ephesus was representative of the apostolic age of the church; the church of Smyrna represented that time in which the early church had known its most intense period of persecution, where Roman authorities did their best to annihilate them because they refused to worship Caesar, who was heralded as a god (a type of anti-Christ by the way)! That was perceived as not just unpatriotic but treasonous; but the more these Christians were persecuted, the more the church flourished.

The church of Pergamos represents that time-period of history that was a post-persecution time; the emperor Galerius ordered a halt to the persecution of the church, and authorized an Edict of Toleration in 311 AD. Two years later, the next emperor, Constantine issued another edict, the Edict of Milan:

The Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, but did not make Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire; this took place under Emperor Theodosius I in 380 AD. (See the full article on Wikipedia here.)

Constantine, it is said, became a Christian, but this is doubtful – In 312 A.D., Constantine set out to defeat the forces of Maxentius, his rival, for supreme power in the empire. Constantine’s father, it is said, had prospered when he had prayed to the God of the Christians, and so he in his desperation and near-defeat by Maxentius, resorted to the same action.

The next day he said he saw a shining cross in the sky with an inscription above it: in hoc signo vinces. “In this sign you shalt conquer.” He defeated Maxentius and immediately declared his ‘conversion to Christianity’. He assumed headship of the church, repealed the persecution edicts of Diocletian, and advanced Christians to high office in the state.

His primary goal was to unite the empire by way of compromise, and bring an end of the multitude of factions between all the various pagan belief systems as well as the Christian church that was growing at an alarming rate.

Heathenism was then Christianized; pagan temples became Christian Churches; heathen festivals were converted into Christian holidays; pagan gods became venerable saints who had passed away, pagan priests slipped into office as Christian priests. But the changes were mostly in name only.
This eventually led to the Roman Catholic institution, but even in its earliest days, it didn’t quite resemble Romanism as we know it today.

And for all the mixture of hedonism, paganism and religious prostitution, the LORD still had faithful martyrs like the bishop of Pergamos, Antipas,who were killed for their witness of the truth amid the city of Pergamos.



And despite all of this, there were those among this mixed multitude, those faithful ones who did NOT deny the Name of the LORD, and who remained FAITHFUL – they did “not deny My faith” the LORD said – that is, they held to their biblical integrity, holding on to and following the Word of God, rather than the philosophies and beliefs that were precious to the citizens of pagan Pergamos.

Vs. 14-15 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”

Two false doctrines that the LORD spoke out against at Pergamos were: the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes (which the LORD Jesus still hates): remember in Ephesus, it was the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. What was a practice performed in Ephesus became official church dogma (doctrine) in Pergamos – scholars agree that these deeds and that doctrine was an ecclesial priesthood that held authority over the churches.

This is unbiblical as all true disciples of Christ, according to 1 PETER 2:9, are already a “royal priesthood”. To have a priesthood in the church of Jesus Christ, other than the priesthood of all believers is to establish mediators between God and the church – and we know Scripture teaches that there is only ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 TIM 2:5). 

A man-made priesthood only puts a distance between the LORD Jesus – Who is the Head of the Church and His body – they are guilty of a kind of ‘spiritual decapitation’ of the body of Christ, separating the Head.

What is the doctrine of Balaam? We read about the false way of Balaam in 2 PET 2 (see vs. 1-3, 14-15) and his greed in JUDE :8-16
Balaam taught King Balak of Moab, an enemy of Israel, to allow the women of his kingdom to seduce the men of Israel, and while they were ‘in the act’ of fornication, the women would bring out the idols of their false gods to worship them. Note the word “taught” – which is what doctrine is all about – it is instruction on how to perform something, and just as Balaam taught Balak how to lure God’s people astray and fall into sin, so too the clergy of Pergamos held doctrine that would lead the church there into sin!

So, in this compromised church of Pergamos, members would be persuaded to worship the false gods of the pagan society that was all around them, thinly disguised as saints to be venerated. Because it was now popular to be a ‘Christian’ – times were good, the church began to prosper, and money began to flow freely – from the pockets of the people into the hands of the priests! The positions of priesthood and bishops promised a lavish life of ease and prosperity, because the church now had friendship with the world and Pergamos’ wealth was substantial.

JAMES 4:3-6
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

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

Here the LORD is calling on the saints at the church at Pergamos to repent of their affiliation with these ungodly and pagan practices, and to not follow those that taught these things. He specifically states that if they do not, then He will fight “against them” – those that taught these things, with the sword of His mouth. Judgment would not be delayed, as He said that “[He] will come to [them] quickly”.

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

The “hidden manna” that the LORD is offering is Himself (JOHN 6:31-35, 48-51, 58); the true spiritual nourishment that brings health, wholeness and healing – as opposed to the mystical and oft-times occult methods of the pagan practice of healing at the Aesculapius. 

It is hidden in the sense that only those who know and love the truth will be able to partake of it. Those who hold on to ungodly, corrupt belief systems – as did the church leadership and their followers at Pergamos, would not know where to find it. Those that stood apart from these were faithful to the LORD, held onto the hidden manna of His Word – not denying “His faith”.

The white stone represents a judicious decision: in court trials, when a verdict was being rendered on the accused, if the juror believed they were innocent, they would drop a white stone into a bag. Others who believed they were guilty would drop a black stone in that bag, and once all the jurors rendered their decision, the stones were counted, and the decision of the court was made based on the majority decision.


Here the LORD is saying, that the overcomer is the one who will receive a “not guilty” verdict from the Judge of all the world (JOHN 5:22; ROM 8:1-2).

The next church to be examined in this series is church #4 - Thyatira. Until then, the LORD be with you all!