Friday, May 21, 2021

Smyrna and Pergamum Churches

VIDEO: Smyrna and Pergamum Churches

Smyrna Church

And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Smyrna write: These are the words of the First and the Last, Who died and came to life again… (Revelation 2:8 AMPC)

There is a church who needs to remember that Jesus was the First Born of many and the Last sacrifice we need. They also need to remember that He died, but was brought to life again. 

I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9 AKJV)

The Lord is speaking to a church that is afflicted and in a state of poverty. There is a popular doctrine that states we should all be rich if we are Christians. It also states that if we are not wealthy, it is through some wrongdoing. This is not what the Word of God says. One of the most popular verses these ministries quote is:

But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

To understand what Paul is saying, we must put it in the right context of that chapter. Here are some other scriptures from that same chapter to consider:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:11-12 AKJV)

Paul begins by stating that he, the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament, was at one time, poor (abased), in need and hungry. There is no shame in being in need for a season. We then lean upon the Lord while we check ourselves to make sure there are no open doors for the enemy to steal provision. The prophet Elijah lived in a cave, drank from a brook, and was fed by ravens at one point in his life. It is how we conduct ourselves during these times which is a testimony to our Lord. 

Before Paul prays for their needs, he says this:

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18 AKJV)

The Christians at Philippi had sent an offering to Paul. When they supported his needs, Paul stated that God would supply for their needs. We are not guaranteed to be wealthy, but we are guaranteed to have all our needs met. To say we must be wealthy or that we are failing as a Christian is a doctrine not supported in the Bible. We should carefully research each passage about blessing and provision to see if it is:

  1. A response to our actions
  2. Applied in the right way

John is writing to a body of believers who work for the Lord despite tribulation and poverty. In the Book of John, he used the word “Jews” to describe people who declared themselves for God but were really against those who followed Jesus. (John 11:8, 13:33) There are Christians in certain parts of the world who will be attacked by those who profess to follow God. This “church” today could be Christians in and around the Middle East, who may be persecuted by the one-world church when they make a covenant with the AntiChrist to build the new temple.

Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be you faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10 AKJV)

God began by reminding them that Jesus was the first to be sacrificed and that He was raised from the dead. (Revelation 2:8) Our Father was encouraging them to follow that example; they may be killed for the Gospel, but they will rise as Christ did. Studying Daniel’s Week revealed that there will be a time of persecution of Christians by the AntiChrist. This time period isn’t seven days, but seven years is within a Jewish period known as the Ten Days of Awe, so it could be hinting at a group of Christians who will suffer more when Daniel’s Week begins. 

Unfortunately, this is one of those items in Revelation that we cannot know with 100% certainty how to apply, but we can look at it and be aware! If the Feast of Trumpets has begun, then so has this suffering. We know that Christians are being imprisoned and martyred in the Middle East and have been so for several years. Only time will tell if we have begun the ten days of the persecution of the Smyrna Church.

A crown is a symbol of power and achievement. Those who endure persecution and give their life will receive an eternal reward of greater status in the Kingdom of Heaven!

He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:11 AKJV)

The second death happens after the 1,000-year reign which we will discuss in the eighth Academy Workbook: The Book of Revelation. The Smyrna church doesn’t have anything to improve on, they just need to hold on and then they will have a reward for all eternity. There will not be a chance for Satan to persuade them to the wrong side when he is let loose again for a short season after the Lord reigns on Earth for 1,000 years. The second death is not something they need to fear!

Achievement: Works, tribulation, and poverty
Obstacle: Stay true in the face of imprisonment and death
Reward: Crown of Life and freedom from the second death

Pergamum Church

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things said He which has the sharp sword with two edges… (Revelation 2:12 AKJV)

The sharp double-edged sword is the Word of God. Some Christians have forgotten to hold fast to the scripture!

I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast My name, and have not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:13 AKJV)

A Pergamum church is a group of people who work for God, remains in faith, and holds onto the name of Jesus. We learn a lot about this group from the rest of the verse:

  • The Greek word thronos (thron’-os) means seat of power. 
  • Where Satan dwells” means that the Devil will have power in a specific place. 
  • Antipas was martyred when Rome was in power throughout the world.
    • This church is what remains of the churches connected to Antipas. 

We know the Pope, who governs from Rome, will lead a one-world church during the Tribulation. The AntiChrist will hold power in Syria and the Middle East. There are two possible conclusions we could draw from this: 

  1. Christians in those areas of the world will be holding fast to the name of Jesus and will not deny Him even when those dedicated to God are being martyred. 
  2. This could be addressed to the churches who claim and honor Saint Antipas. 

We should also note that it is said that he died sometime after AD 68 and according to the majority of biblical scholars, the time period was probably about the year 92. This is an important confirmation for the time in which the Book of Revelation was written late in Paul’s life, most likely after AD 70. Since Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, the references to the destruction of the temple cannot be referring to anything but a future temple that is yet to be constructed. 

Concerning future Christians in these types of churches or in the seat of power for Satan, is clinging to the name of Jesus and not denying the faith enough to secure your place in Heaven?

But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14 AKJV)

The “children of Israel” refers to all of those who are dependent upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Christians are included according to Galatians chapter six. 

A doctrine is a particular teaching in a church. In this context, the teaching follows in the way of Balaam, a diviner: someone who could contact the spirit realm. He showed king Balak that he could defeat Israel by leading them into sin, specifically fornication (sexual sin). This could be allowing for marriage “annulments” for reasons outside of scripture or condoning other types of sexual sin, such as same-sex relationships. 

“Eat things sacrificed to idols” could refer to allowing some practices of other religions into the church, such as “holy yoga” and other seemingly harmless physical activities that were founded by pagan religions to worship their gods. The Pope is organizing a “one world” religion to include all religions who worship any type of god. This movement seems to confirm that he is leading the Pergamum church. 

So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:15 AKJV)

As we discussed, Nicolaitanes are people who use the message of grace through the sacrifice of Jesus to say that we don’t need to worry about sin, encouraging people to follow the flesh and wrong desires instead of walking the narrow path of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:15, 16, 19). Today we call that the “hyper-grace” message: where your sin doesn’t matter because Jesus is our Lamb, who was sacrificed for our sin. This includes the following teachings:  

  • You can continue in sin because saying a salvation prayer is enough to get you into Heaven.
  • You can simply tell God that you are sorry that you messed up, every time you sin and all will be okay. 
  • You aren’t expected to stop sinning: it is just part of being human.

If these reflect the state of your heart, then you have received the Nicolaitan doctrine. The online classes at the free Courts of Heaven Academy will not only give you scriptures that show why these beliefs are wrong, but also show you how to remove the power of the enemy which may be holding you in this place of sin. 

What is necessary for those in a Pergamum Church?

Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes 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 knows saving he that receives it. (Revelation 2:16-17 AKJV)

Repent means to turn and go the other way. If your church is not urging you to turn from sin and is allowing other religious practices into the body, you may come under judgment according to the Word of God which is the two-edged sword from the mouth of the Lord.

There are two rewards for you if you overcome these sins, one is for this life and one for the next. The first one is easy to define: Manna, which is hidden provision during the Tribulation. Notice that you are not removed from a time of trouble, only provided for through it.

The phrase “a white stone” is something that we may not fully understand until the Lord returns. There are two possibilities that I see at this time:

  1. Some say that a white stone was given to the victors of a race. This stone would get them into a private banquet of great privilege. This may mean they will be at the wedding feast, but not part of the Bride of Christ.
  2. The Talmud is the ancient written beliefs of the Rabbis from the days of Jesus. It tells a story of four sages who entered paradise after receiving a white stone with God’s name on it and meditating upon the name and stone. This would mean that by turning from the sin (white is righteousness), they would gain entrance into Heaven. 

Both interpretations of a “white stone” have the same outcome: you are present in Heaven. Maybe not as the Bride of Christ, but at the wedding as a guest. We will discuss the difference between a wedding guest and the Bride when we talk about the 1,000-year reign.

Achievement: Works, holds onto His faith and they keep His Name
Obstacle: Remove those leading others into sin, especially of a sexual nature, and remove food sacrificed to idols
Reward: Provision during the Tribulation and entry into Heaven

There is a big contrast between the Pergamum and Ephesus churches. Even though Ephesus is great at rejecting wrong teaching because they had lost their love for the Lord, they are in danger of missing Heaven. Pergamum has many beliefs that are wrong, however they are in danger of losing their salvation because of those wrong beliefs. It seems that there are two important factors for salvation, in God’s eyes: 

  1. Relationship with our Lord; the love we have for Him 
  2. Following God’s ways

There is great news for Pergamum. In my private prayer time, the Lord said to tell you not to worry about your loved ones who might be in a Pergamum church. When the time comes, He will provide for those who miss the Rapture if they will turn to Him. You will see them again in Heaven. 

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