Sunday, February 19, 2017

A MESSAGE TO LAODICEA


A message to Laodicea
 
 
This is a study about human beings falling into complacently and how God sees the heart. Jesus has some things to say about their lives. This is a subject worth looking into because so many of us have fallen into this sin.
 
(14) "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. (17)  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (18) I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (20) Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me (21) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. (22) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3 :14-22.
 
Laodicea was about 40 miles from Ephesus, they were extremely rich in banking and were noted for healing eyes with a special ointment. It had race tracks, theaters and liked pleasure. The majority of these people lived for the moment.
 
Jesus gives Himself three titles to this church and He does this for very specific reasons so they could relate to where they were wrong.
 
He first reveals Himself as the Amen which is translated into I believe. The Laodiceans did not really have a strong belief in Jesus Christ although most of them did accept Him as their Savior. The Son of God was reminding them that He had very strong belief in His Father so this title was meant for them to have stronger faith in Him. They were probably rich and did not feel they needed to exercise this practice with God.
 
Jesus also identifies Himself as the faithful and true witness. Apparently this church took the words of Jesus very lightly. This has probably happened to every one of us because when we try and explain something to an individual or group and they just brush us off as virtually nothing we are not being listened to and feel like we are not even present.
 
Jesus also gives Himself the title the beginning of the creation of God. The church was probably like the world and fit in very well so at least subconsciously they forgot that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the very pleasures they were enjoying. To take this one step deeper how can we witness to anyone being so immersed in pleasures and be a credible vessel for Jesus Christ? Our Lord was quite concerned with this church. In fact there is not one commendation this fellowship received from God. They were indifferent and as a result they became completely ineffective for Jesus Christ.
 
Jesus called them lukewarm. They were neither cold nor hot. If they were just apathetic that would have been more honest. If they were fervent that would have been more honest but in the eyes of God they were right in the middle. Jesus uses some very strong language because he says ... "I will spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16.
 
Jesus also rebukes this church for the love of money or material success in the sense that they believed this was the seal of being His child. For embracing this false truth Jesus called them wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Smyrna was poor but spiritually rich in Jesus Christ so as you can see it is important what we believe because we will think and respond accordingly and as a result we will either be accepted or rejected by God.
 
If a church is so into material things then there is probably little hope for them. If it were me in one of these churches I would try and leave because from my experience most people engrossed in a system like this do not listen and just keep moving forward in their wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked condition. I know I have been there and I can testify that Jesus Christ is not at the center of our life in that mind and heart condition.
 
Jesus exhorts this church to ... "Buy gold from Me that has been tried in the fire that you may be rich" ... Revelation 3:18. The Bible tells us that our trials are a testing for our faith. This should be more precious to us as believers in Jesus Christ because this is what makes us strong and pure in Him. God created gold in a way that fire refines it because the bad goes to the top and can be taken off but if there is no test (fire) then the sin stays in the middle and in spiritual terms remains lukewarm. 
 
Jesus urges them to buy white raiment to cover their spiritual nakedness. This church really needed Jesus Christ's white robes of righteousness which according to the Bible is free to anyone who receives Him as Savior and Lord by repenting of all sins and being freed from their transgressions. The King of Kings knew exactly what they needed and it was not material wealth. God owns everything anyway so how did they get so deceived into believing a lie?
 
Jesus also says ... "And anoint your eyes with salve that you may see." Revelation 3:18. Their main industry was dealing with human eyes so our Lord is getting down to their level. "Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. Notice the word "See" in this verse.
 
"As many as I love I rebuke and discipline. Be zealous therefore and repent." Revelation 3:19. There are always a handful of true believers in most denominations so according to Hebrews chapter twelve the fact that God disciplines His children is good news because this is evidence of being born again in the kingdom of God. Also notice Jesus says ..."Be zealous therefore and repent."
 
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will fellowship with him and he with Me." Revelation 3:20. This is one of the most popular verses in the Bible and one of the most misunderstood because Jesus is waiting at the door of His children's hearts but He does this to be invited to fill our void. This is a verse for Christians not unbelievers yet it is used to witness for Jesus Christ. God understands the lack of proper application and has still allowed this verse for people that don't know the Lord to come to His Son.  
 
Jesus gives them a promise that if they overcome through Him their victory is sitting next to the Son of God just as He overcame and sits next to His Father. This should give us a hint that we are to pray to God that we overcome our trials through Jesus Christ.
 
There is prophetic implication that this church corresponds with the time era from 1925 A.D to the rapture of the church. Many schools in America and Europe engaged in higher criticism of the Bible and as a result taught people more about doubting God than having true faith in Jesus Christ.
 
There is one more point I would like to make about our time era which corresponds prophetically to the Laodicean church. I have never seen so much big money running around all over the place across this earth.
 
This type of church does not go up in the rapture but instead goes into the kingdom age in the seven year tribulation period. If you have any doubts that your faith is not authentic in Jesus Christ then I ask you to accept Him into your heart today/tonight by repenting of all your sins and allowing the Son of God to be your very own Savior and Lord. This is one decision that you will never regret and it will last for all eternity. 
 
God Bless you,
Bob D.  
 
 
 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A MESSAGE TO PHILADELPHIA

                                             

Sunday, February 05, 2017

SARDIS


                                                  SARDIS

The church of Sardis is a very interesting analysis because it is so applicable to our life today. It is virtually impossible to leave this study without getting anything out of the problems this church faced; however, I do not believe this body of believers realized it was happening in their walk with Jesus Christ.
 
 
(1) "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest. and art dead. (2) Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:1-5.
 
Five hundred years before the Apostle John wrote this letter to the church of Sardis this city was very rich and powerful. There was much sin in the city and was taken over by Cyrus of Persia and then eventually Alexander the Great. Years later an earthquake really damaged the city but people did get together under the direction of Tiberius Caesar and the city was rebuilt.
 
Today the city is still an important location but not nearly as powerful as it once was so realize that when people marvel over how strong an area in the world is it is subject to change. That is history. It does repeat itself but powers tend to shift.
 
The church of Sardis did get caught up in the corruption of the city and that was probably the main downfall of this body of believers. I am sure the idolatrous worship of the goddess Cybele enticed this fellowship in one way or another.
 
If we have this type of influence around us we have to predetermine that we are going to keep our devotion to Jesus Christ because the temptation to sin will be enormously high. We are surrounded by this over here in America and it is very difficult to keep our focus on Jesus Christ.
 
Jesus describes Himself as the one who has ... "The seven spirits of God"... which refers to the omnipresent and omniscient nature of God. Jesus said that He has the spirit but they did not so obviously they got caught up in something worldly that surrounded them which is not synonymies in being filled with the Holy Spirit because our Lord referred to them as a dead church.
 
What is a dead church? It is a body of believers not filled with the Holy Spirit to feel His love, joy and peace. Just because a church is Pentecostal does not necessarily mean they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Just because a church is Conservative does not necessarily mean they are filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
This is a conscious decision on the part of individuals in a fellowship to allow the Holy Spirit to work through them. I have seen both Pentecostal and conservative churches quench the third Person of the Trinity and as a result sin ruled in the church. I have seen it in my own life. I only compared Pentecostals to Conservatives because they seem to be the two types of forms in whatever denomination you are at present but not necessarily by choice.   
 
There were a few people that did not soil their garments. These people did not conform to the world but walked with Jesus Christ. They probably were either so thankful of their salvation or understood that the real riches are in Jesus Christ. These few people reasoned they did not want the leftovers of the world but the riches of God were worth pursuing because that is where the eternal value is for the long term.
 
Sardis was behaving good on the outside but had sin issues on the inside. "And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness." Luke 11:39. Pergamos was fine on the inside but had behavioral problems on the outside. Sardis had past victories in Jesus Christ but was riding on them and not living for the Son of God in the present.
 
Perhaps they had some bad things going on and did not focus on their blessings. We are supposed to learn from the past and apply those truths to the present so we can grow in Jesus Christ. If we just rely on the past then what we have at present will die. Maybe that is why Jesus called Sardis a dead church.
 
Not only does God desire us to grow but He is calling us to be more responsible. If we approach the Christian life the way Sardis did then we want to go on spiritual welfare. God I'm not going to do anything but just write me out a check for present payment. You would be surprised as to what we can get ourselves to believe if we become spiritually complacent.
 
This church received three promises from Jesus. Promise one was If they overcame these problems they would be ... "Clothed in white raiment." Revelation 3:5. This color represents spiritual purity. (4) "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4: 4-8.
 
The second promise was God would not remove his name out of the book of life.
 
The third promise was ... "But I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels." Revelation 3:5. The gospels also have something to say regarding this issue. (8) "Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: (9) But he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." Luke 12:8-9.
 
Like all of the seven churches Sardis has a prophetic implication from the years 1517 A.D to 1750 A.D. This was the reformation era. Doctorial reform did take place but a revival did not follow correct theology. Legalism came into the church and as a result only a few born again believers were filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Theologically correct but dead just like the Sardis church.
 
We as Christians should be putting into practice biblical precepts progressively as time continues but to rely on the past and just stop is wrong because we will forget what we learned in the past. Even if we know a passage of Scripture read it again because our spirit needs this manna from God.
 
If we do not keep moving forward by faith the Christian principles will still be there but we won't be able to claim them by faith through our obedience to Jesus Christ. (24) "And He said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. (25) For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." Mark 4:24-25.
 
God is giving believers in Him a choice to move forward in grace and truth or stay stagnant and rely on past victories. I think the choice is pretty obvious.
 
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your very own personal Savior and Lord invite Him into your heart today/tonight by repenting of all your sins and make the wise choice of moving forward in your fellowship with Jesus Christ. If that decision has been made you just entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ but your fellowship with Him should be consistent because growth depends on you abiding in the Son of God which is a continual process in our daily routine.
 
God bless you,
Bob D. 
 
   

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A MESSAGE TO THYATIRA

A message to Thyatira
Jesus Christ has much good to say about the church of Thyatira but He saw some very troubling things and had to address this church with a test. He also gives much hope to the true Christians as the letter progresses in a very special promise. 
(18) "And to 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 out 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 known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. (25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:  (27)  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. (28) And I will give him the morning star. (29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2: 18-29.
Thyatira did not have a bad economy but this city was the least important of the seven destinations mentioned in the letters to the seven churches. They had one main industry which was dying cloth to a red or purple color. This city had trade guilds and it was virtually impossible to succeed in business unless you joined this club.
In our modern day most people have to go to college to start a career. These guilds were pagan and there was much immorality. This became a stumbling block to true believers in Jesus Christ. In our time universities can take on the same role as the guilds.
When Jesus describes Himself as having eyes like a flame of fire this depicts His ability to understand their hearts. He found that their worship to Him was not pure because their motive was wrong. We need to do things for the right reasons or God will find us out so self evaluation is good if we are honest.
Jesus also described Himself as having feet of bronze. Judgment was going to fall on this church if they did not listen to God. It is pretty obvious that it is easier to take heed than to keep falling into a downward spiral of destruction. If we are Christians being exposed to paganism, immorality and fortune - tellers does not sit well with God. It is hard to separate ourselves from the evil that surrounds us but necessary because we are called to have a devotion to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is always fair with His children. He commends them for five different things. Love, faith, service, patience and works. Our Lord even recognized that they got progressively more dedicated to Him in service with love and faith.
There were some problems in the Thyatiran church. A women whose real name was Sambathe received a nickname Jezebel lured some of the new Christians into occult practices. The whole idea was to mix idolatry and sexual sin with their Christianity.
Occult practices, idolatry and sexual sin is so common in the church today. I would have to say sexual sin is the most popular but the other two sins are not to far behind. Only evil can come from these practices so if you are involved in any of these sins then you would want to repent before God because they will end up destroying your life. This is why Jesus stepped in because He does not want to see this happen.
Jesus does not remove the women but casts her ... "Into a bed." This was a test to see who had authentic love for God or who would consort with this occultic women. Prophetically those who do the second go into great tribulation which is so true to who will not go up in the rapture of the church. Those who go up in the catching away have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If occult practices, idolatry or sexual sins are in the life of a person they have to repent and forsake those transgressions or they will be left behind. 
Jesus again goes back to the earnest believers in Him and assures these genuine Christians that no more burdens will be placed on them. They already had heavy responsibilities but He did remind them that they were to keep strong faith in Him. Our Lord promises them that if they listen to what He is saying they will help Him rule in His one thousand year reign on earth which will last 1000 years after the 7 year tribulation period is finished. 
Prophetically the church of Thyatira corresponded with the Middle Ages from 590 A.D to 1517 A.D. In this time frame there was a lot of image worship and superstitions that did not make any sense especially in light of what the Bible says regarding these subjects. There was still a believing remnant in this time frame but it was hard to stay strong in their faith for Jesus Christ.
I would like to encourage Christians around the world to stay strong in their faith to Jesus Christ even in the midst of occult practices, idolatry and sexual sins that are all around us in a very enticing period of time.
I would like to encourage unbelievers to come to know Jesus Christ as their very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of the Living God into your heart. The alternative lifestyle based on the context of this text in the Bible is several pervasive sins that are in society and have nothing to do with the holiness of Jesus Christ. The choice is up to you but to have a true pure relationship with Jesus Christ is the way we should be living our lives on earth because there is eternal value in that lifestyle. 
God Bless, 
Bob D.          

Monday, January 23, 2017

THE CHURCH OF PERGAMOUS


The church of Pergamos had a heart for the most part that was in the right place with Jesus Christ but outwardly they compromised with the world system and it caused many problems.
(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 Balak to cast a stumbling block 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 hast an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saying he that receiveth it." Revelation 2:12-17.
There were three worldly problems with the city of Pergamos. They had to much political power, pagan worship covered the city and their academic empathies was so strong that at one of their universities they had 200,000 books.
Once again Caesar worship was very popular and it was the law that everybody had to offer incense to the emperor and actually make a verbal conformation that he was lord. I will quote verses in the next paragraph to show you how the devil was copying Jesus Christ with incense and worship. In this case the human just happened to be Caesar. When we know the original we will never be deceived by the counterfeit.
The book of Revelation tells us that when we pray to God our prayers go to the throne room of God and a sweet smelling incense is made because of our sincerity and earnestly to God. (3) "And another angel came and stood at the alter, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne. (4) And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." Revelation 8:3-4.
A saint is a born again Christian. "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." 1 Corinthians 1:2. The Corinthian church did almost everything wrong yet Paul referred to them as saints. 
The devil can not think of anything original on his own. We give adoration to Jesus Christ. We don't worship any sinful human being. What added insult to injury was Caesar was nothing but flawed in his character. 
In all of the seven churches Jesus gives a description of Himself based on who the church was at the very core of their heart as a body of believers. With the fellowship of Pergamos our Lord describes Himself as having a sharp sword with two edges. There are other verses in the Bible that explain this is a discernment of the thoughts and motives of people. Let me quote one verse that is the most descriptive. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12.
Pergamos was in the very heart of where the throne of Satan was and the Son of God who knows everything understood their sufferings and temptations because they were surrounded by a Satanic religion.
Our Lord likes to praise His children if there is commendation. The Pergamos church did boldly proclaim Jesus Christ and I am sure they received opposition even in the midst of danger. There were Christians in this church that were martyred but unfortunately that is what happens when you stand up for truth in an overwhelmingly pagan society that hates God.
There was one martyr that Jesus Himself commends and this man also was written in a couple of history books probably because he came back with such a one liner that nobody could forget what he said to the people that challenged him.
His name was Antipas and I can only assume that a couple of unbelievers did not like something he said/did but in all honesty in studying the culture he probably did not show up for his quota to declare that Caesar was lord. The Roman officers brought him to a statue of this evil man. They had the nerve to tell him that he had to proclaim he was God. Satan always has his servants to do his biding for him.
First Antipas boldly proclaimed that Jesus Christ alone is Lord. Let me just say that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and when I see these so called messiah figures come along it personally makes me physically sick to my stomach. In our modern day people scream at rock stars in adoration, false politicians that are against Jesus Christ often times get extremely high ratings and even worship. Society for the most part sees this as normal and they just go about their daily routine but I take this very personal because this anti God pagan worship is the antitheist of keeping a devotion to Jesus Christ.
Antipas said Jesus Christ is God. Good for him because he stood up for the truth. One of the Romans that was in charge of this particular duty asked Antipas a question which was, "Antipas, don't you know that the whole world is against you?" He responded, "Then Antipas is against the whole world."
He was placed in a brass bull which heated up really hot as time progressed and Antipas of course died a martyrs death for Jesus Christ. He was an unknown man in history but will be heavily rewarded in heaven. It is not my intention to forget the other martyrs in the church of Pergamos but Jesus Christ did single him out.
Although the church of Pergamos was very convicted for Jesus Christ their downfall was compromise with the world. Their heart was in the right place but their behavior was bad. Usually it is the other way around.
They tolerated two teachings that were of the devil. The teachings of Balaam enticed Christians to fall into sexual sin with women. The teachings of the Nicolaitans overlapped Greek philosophy which is somewhat similar to the new age movement in our day. The premise is that people are inherently good which does not match the Bible. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. We are not inherently good because our sins need to be dealt with through the blood of Jesus Christ when we repent to God. The teaching also said that the material part is inherently evil. Money is only a medium of exchange. This in and of itself is not evil. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10.
This teaching also taught that sexual sin did not effect the spirit and the Christians in the Pergamos church were to go to pagan temples. As we can see there was good and bad in this church and Jesus addressed them both. The good was they had a heart for Jesus Christ but the bad was compromise with the world.
Our Lord did have some things to say about this compromise because no sin can be committed in thought or deed without it effecting our fellowship with Jesus Christ. He told them to repent or He would fight the Pergamos church with the sword of His Word. Our Christian life often boils down to repentance before God through Jesus Christ. If there is no confession Jesus Christ Himself will step in and deal with His children through circumstances.
I believe the people in the Pergamos church were sincere and willing to change the bad to good through Jesus Christ. I like when our Lord said ... "To him that overcometh I will give him a white stone" ... which closely resembles the culture of that day. If a person went to court and was found innocent they were often given a white stone. As we can see God wanted this church to have acceptance and victory in Jesus Christ without being guilty in compromising with the world which lead many of the Christians into sin.


This is the third church out of seven and it is prophetically applicable to the time frame 312 A.D to 590 A.D. During this era the church merged with the state. Persecution did stop for the most part because Constantine made Christianity the official religion of this empire. Although his intentions may have been good believers in Jesus Christ committed spiritual adultery with the Roman Empire. As a result a great many Christians committed sin and became impure before God.
For those of you that do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord repent of your sins today/tonight and invite the Son of God into your heart. As we look around our world we see a lot of pagan statues and rituals that is straight from the devil. Determine that you are going to have a heart for Jesus Christ but don't compromise with the world because it is only going to lead into sin which will cause you to be impure. If we fall into sin we need to confess because, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9.
God Bless,

Bob D.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A MESSAGE TO SMYRNA

A message to Smyrna

 
The church of Smyrna is a very interesting study and is certainly applicable to our lives today. What was happening to this body of believers is taking place all over the world today and the Bible says it will get even worse. It would be wise if we understand what the Smyrnan Christians went through because history is destined to repeat itself.
 
( 8) "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, which are dead, and is alive; (9) I know thy works, and tribulations, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (10) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. ( 11 ) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Revelation 2:8-11.
 
Smyrna was about 40 miles north of Ephesus and of course they had their own church. Alexander the great was the designer of this city with a thriving economy but society was overwhelmingly pagan. They had a temple of Zeus, the temple of Cybele and a temple to Tiberius Caesar. This was a city filled with pagan worship. 
 
The world we live in is following the same footsteps because New York (Time Square to be exact) has a monument to Baal 48 feet high and 28 feet wide to the best of my knowledge. London has the same idol worship but plans are being made to put these archways in approximately one thousand cities across the globe. 
 
Very little legal resistance was given to the erecting of the statue of Baal yet if somebody tries to put something up that is Christian he or she gets taken right to court in America. What most people don't understand is the historical and theological significance to excessive pagan worship in a society. This leads to persecution and martyrdom of Christians.
 
Before I started writing about the church in Smyrna I turned to the Lord for help and He had His head bowed in sadness. I realized He remembered all the suffering and death in this time frame. I felt in my heart the implication was this type of society is very close to coming back to the entire planet. It became apparent that I was to do a good job in breaking this passage of Scripture down so the internet readers understand the history, theology and future.
 
There are only two churches out of seven that Jesus Christ did not have one bad thing to say and they would be Smyrna (the church I am writing about now) and Philadelphia (The sixth church out of seven).
 
Sometimes I will hear somebody say, "The only acceptable church in the eyes of Jesus Christ out of the seven is the church of Philadelphia." I understand they are speaking in a dispensational context. They are urging their audience to be truly born again and be the missionary church as opposed to the Laodicean church which is a false ecumenical group of people that seek to have a superficial unity in Jesus Christ. The Laodiceans could only bear the bad fruit of being lukewarm to Jesus Christ and as a result this church was rejected by God.
 
This is only a partial truth because the church of Smyrna suffered unbelievable tortures and remained faithful to death. This is something that God never forgets and the Bible seems to suggest these types of Christians will have the highest honor in heaven because of their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. This is happening across the world today and the word of God says it will get much worse.
 
What we do not know is how much time God will give the world before He has His Son Jesus Christ remove His bride in an event called the rapture of the church. When this happens the world will enter into the seven year tribulation period and believers in Jesus Christ will be treated much like the Christians in Smyrna but only worse on a worldwide scale. This persecution is being set up now as you are reading this very article but nothing can happen unless it is the timing of God. The Bible says this will transpire in the future but when is a whole different issue.
 
The world is not to far from Revelation chapters 4 to Revelation 19 being fulfilled (Judgment) but in the meantime we have to do everything possible to win souls for Jesus Christ and urge those already saved to be living for Jesus Christ. 
 
Jesus Christ introduces Himself as ... "The First and the Last, who was dead and is alive." Why didn't our Lord introduce Himself as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? The Son of God wanted to identify with Smyrna the persecuted church because He suffered and died on a cross but rose again on the third day. Jesus Christ conquered death because in this context He referred to Himself as ... "The first and the last." He wanted to give confidence to each believer that the sting of death has no power over them.
 
The Smyrnan believers were very faithful to Jesus Christ even in the midst of suffering and death. They were financially poor for a specific reason but I will give you more details as this article progresses. This church was rich in the sight of God even though they at the very least lost most of their money if not everything.  
 
These believers in this time frame of history were the recipients of an evil game I call persecute the Christians. Greed does something to people but this whole scenario went far deeper than the love for money is the root of all evil.
 
These believers were the victims of a group called the ten per centers. All they had to do was turn these Christians in to the Roman government and their reward was ten percent of what they owned financially. So much for working for your money. Why do that when you can receive a handout by turning in heretics (This is what they called the Christians)? This was welfare through betrayal and it was not only legal but encouraged. There is no doubt that the Roman government received a large portion of their money. As a result they were poor, put in prison or martyred.
 
Caesar thought he was God so all the Christians had to do was bow down to him as lord. The Smyrna church did not do this and as a result Jesus Christ saw them as being very faithful to Him because He alone is Lord.
 
I find it interesting that not once does Jesus Christ ever acknowledge Caesar in His letter to Smyrna. He was narcissist with overwhelming pride and God was not even going to waste His time addressing something so obvious. As far as the people were concerned our Lord was far more interested in a particular set of Jewish people that He referred to as ... " And I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
 
The Jews that Jesus was referring to also denied Caesar was lord because their devotion was to Jehovah. At this point in history there was enough evidence that Jesus Christ was the Son of God but they did not listen.
 
They did suffer because of their stance not to bow down to Caesar as lord. In the midst of this persecution the Roman government put them through unfortunately the Jews in Smyrna decided to betray the Christians and turn them in thus alleviating some of their suffering. In the letter to Smyrna the dissertation said they were not true Jews because they were supposed to believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ as their true Messiah.
 
On the one hand they did the right thing by not bowing down to Caesar but they did it for the wrong reason. To make matters worse they turned in Christians to the government thus confessing they were not truly of God through His Son Jesus Christ. No authentic servant of God would turn in the true children of God (the Smyrnan Christians) over to Satan for suffering and death. Jesus Christ was very offended by this and said they ... " Are the synagogue of Satan." This is strong language but to betray a group of people that are living in obedience to God through persecution breaks the very heart of Jesus Christ Himself.
 
I have some questions. Are persecuted believers usually more faithful to Jesus Christ than untested believers in Jesus Christ? The answer is yes. If Christians are going through suffering do they tend to rely on God in a deeper and more devoted way? The answer is yes. Why are secular people that work for the government so willing to listen to a person like Caesar? Because they are fearful and they have no devotion or obedience to Jesus Christ. Does the Bible say there is a man coming on the world scene that will be worse than Caesar and will demand worldwide worship from everybody on this planet? The answer is yes. 
 
Jesus was very honest with the church of Smyrna and told them the devil was going to throw them in prison for ten days. He did not want them to fear and it was for the purpose of them being tried in their faith. Jesus says ... "Be faithful unto death and I will give you a Crown of Life." Crowns are seen in Revelation chapter four but everybody is laying their rewards at the feet of Jesus Christ because in the presence of the Son of God we don't need anything. 
 
Prophetically the ten days of persecution probably corresponded to the ten eras of suffering under ten horrible leaders. The only reason I am mentioning this is to show the readers how perfect and exact God is not only in a practical way but prophetically. They were Nero, Domitian, Tragan, Aurelius, Sevarus, Maximus, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian and Diocletian. They all ruled in progressively different time periods one right after the other but with some space breaks in between each ruler.
 
The church of Smyrna is prophetically applicable to the time frame 100 A.D to 312 A.D. Millions of Christians suffered and died under leaders who hated Jesus Christ.
 
People say the great coliseum residing in Rome today still has blood stains on the foundations which were obviously from the Christian martyrs of the past but more specifically in this time frame. They were not harmed in the second death ( Revelation 20:14-15 ) but were granted eternal life through Jesus Christ. They are in heaven now with the Son of God.
 
This took years but the evil Roman empire was brought down by the strong faith and obedience of these Christians. I hope their testimony has not been forgotten but I fear in this Laodicean time frame that we are living in now people will continue to be lukewarm for Jesus Christ. 
 
If you are not a Christian understand the Bible says this world is headed into a future seven year time period where almost sixty percent of the population on this earth will die. This will fulfill Revelation chapters four through nineteen. We would like to see you accept Jesus Christ into your heart today/tonight. Repent of all your sins and come to the Son of God so you can be part of the rapture. This takes place before the horrible judgments of God are poured on this earth.
 
This is a special promise to true believers in Jesus Christ because of the grace of God for His bride. Christians in the age of grace are not appointed to the wrath of God but may suffer persecution and death even in this dispensation of grace if that is the will of God for our life. 
 
If for some reason you do not accept this invitation then if somebody or a group of people present to you the mark of the beast (A chip in your right hand or forehead) do not accept this for buying and selling purposes. According to Revelation chapters 13,14 and 20 you will not go to heaven if you allow this chip in your body.
 
It will be better for you to follow the example of the Smyrna church and not engage in false worship. This mark will be given in allegiance to worshipping the antichrist. Listen to what the Bible says even in the face of death and you will be given eternal life through Jesus Christ.
 
I would rather you come to know Jesus Christ now but some people will not listen. You may be reading this writing on the other side of the rapture of the church. Follow the guidelines of the word of God and be obedient to Jesus Christ because the alternative response is giving allegiance to the antichrist who could care less about you. God loves you and desires your faith and obedience to be in His Son Jesus Christ so you can spend eternity with Him.
 
God Bless,
Bob D.