The Lamb opens the seventh seal:
8:1 And when he (the Lamb) had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about (the space of) half an hour.
The space of “half an hour” did not depict an exact time of thirty minutes. This phrase is from the Greek word “hemiorion” (#5610), derived from two words that mean “semi” and “hour.” When I researched this word in other verses, it was not used to mean a half hour; it was used as a day, an instant, a season, a short time, at eventide, a time, and at high time. In the scriptures below, I have italicized and made bold the word which means an uncertain time span.
John 5:35, John was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. (John lived at least 30 years. How long he ministered is not recorded.)
John 16:2, They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he done Yahweh service. (This is not dealing with a time as far as minutes; it is dealing with an era of time, which can last for years.)
Rom. 13:10-11, Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (It was time for this person to wake up and bring himself out of ignorance.)
I John 2:18, Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time (an age). (See also, 2 Cor. 7:8; 1Thes. 2:17; Rev. 3:10.)
The words “the space of a half an hour” symbolized the portion of time the believers waited for the SAVIOR’s promise.
It would be foolish to say that Yahweh kept silent for any length of time. But there was a time in history when there was no ministering; there were no signs or wonders given to the people. It was the time between the SAVIOR returning to the FATHER and the believers waiting in the upper room for the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1:12-13.) This was the promise that the SAVIOR told them to wait for.
Luke 24:44-49, The SAVIOR said unto the disciples, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures (the spirit of revelation), And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved the Anointed to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my FATHER upon you: but sit down (tarry) you in the city (of Jerusalem), until you be endued with power from on high.
The believers were going to be “endued” with power from on high. Endued means to invest with clothing, to put on, which is the same Greek word used in the scripture below.
Eph. 4:23-24, Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after Yahweh is created in righteousness and true holiness. (See Col. 3:9-10.)
Our SAVIOR was not silent while in the grave for three days; he was ministering to the spirits bound in death (1 Pet. 3:18-20). After he rose from the grave, he was with his disciples for forty days (Acts 1:3). The disciples waited seven days (the time of silence) in the upper room before they were endued with power from on high. This power came upon them on the feast of Harvest (Pentecost) fifty days after Passover (Ex. 34:22, Deut. 16:10-16).
The time of silence was from the time the SAVIOR ascended until the time the Holy Spirit fell (Luke 24:49). The SAVIOR told his disciples that “repentance and remission of sins would be preached,” then he added “but you sit down until I clothe you with the Holy Spirit.” He could have said, “Wait until you put on the new man, which is after the Anointed Word.” In these seven days, there were no miracles, no signs or wonders recorded; only waiting. No trumpets were blown; the Kingdom message could not be given without the outpouring of the Anointing.
8:2 And I saw the seven messengers which stood before Yahweh; and to them were given seven trumpets.
In the O.T., the sounding of a trumpet was in itself a message; one sound was made for warnings, another for gatherings, and a different sound told the Hebrews to pick up camp and move on. Only the priest sounded the trumpets.
Num. 10:8-10, The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be before Yahweh your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am Yahweh your God.
After the silence in heaven, the seven messengers of each of the seven churches were given trumpets. Each trumpet symbolized the message the messenger was anointed to preach. Up until this time, they had not ministered the message of the Kingdom of Righteousness, but now they are getting ready to sound the message given to them by the Holy Spirit.
8:3 And another Messenger (the Holy Spirit) came and stood at the altar, 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 altar which was before the throne.
In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the offering of incense, fueled by the coals from the brazen altar, was carried by a priest in a golden censer and placed upon the golden altar of incense, and then fragrant incense was sprinkled upon the coals of fire. The fragrance filled the sanctuary. This incense symbolized not only the prayers of the saints but the sincerity of their prayers. A prayer offered from a sincere heart created a sweet smelling savor unto the FATHER.
The sanctified SAVIOR, called a high priest after the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 5:10), replaced all other priests. Being the High Priest, he offered up spiritual incense for the believers. He was their Comforter, Guide, and Teacher—he was that Holy Spirit that was poured out upon them on the day of Pentecost.
Heb. 8:1-2, Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Heb. 2:17, Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to Yahweh, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (See also Heb. 5:5-10.)
Just as the altar of incense was placed before the mercy seat where Yahweh dwelt in the O.T., it was also seen before the throne of Yahweh in John’s vision. (See Exod. 30:6.)
David understood that incense symbolized prayers unto Yahweh:
Ps. 141:2, Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us just as the priests interceded for those in the Old Testament:
Rom. 8:26-27, The Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes (makes intercession) for the saints according to the will of Yahweh.
8:4 And the smoke of the incense, (which came with) the prayers of the saints, ascended up before Yahweh out of the Messenger’s (the Holy Spirit’s) hand.
The Smoke from the incense was symbolic to the sincere cry from deep within the saints. It represented their emotions, sentiments, and desires. It symbolized that which motivated the saints to cry unto Yahweh.
Ps. 102:2-5, Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline your ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
Isa. 6:4, The posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Rom. 8:25-27, If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of Yahweh.
8:5 And the Messenger took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven messengers which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
The voices, lightnings, thunderings, and the earthquake were caused by the fire from the sacrificial altar making contact with the earth. In Revelation 4:5, these came from the throne. But now the voices, lightnings, and thunderings are coming from the earth. In Matthew 5:14, we read that believers are the light of the world; therefore, from the earth came forth lightnings. In Second Corinthians 3:6, we read that believers are ministers; therefore, voices came forth from the earth. In 1 Peter 4:16, 17 we read that judgment starts in the House of Yahweh, which the believers are; therefore, from the earth came forth thunderings.
The earthquake symbolized the spiritual commotions created by one foundation giving way to another. The order set in place as a type of something greater had to give way for its reality. Under the Levitical order of types and shadows, man ruled, but under the Melchisedec order the Holy Spirit ruled. For more information on earthquake, see Revelation 6:12-13 in this book.
The messengers of the seven churches “prepared” to sound the message of righteousness. “Prepared” is a stirring up of the emotions to get ready for an event. In this case, it was to give out the message of righteousness. This type of stirring up is used before ball games when a coach rallies with his team to generate enthusiasm to win the game. King David also prepared himself after he came back from fighting the Philistines and found his family had been captured by the Amalekites—he “encouraged” himself in the Lord. Afterwards he fought the Amalekites and brought his family back. (See 1 Sam. 30: and 31.) The seven messengers were preparing their emotions and minds to give their messages.
Keep in mind that even though there were only seven churches addressed in John’s vision, they were not unique in their situations. There were many churches spread throughout the land that had similar issues and situations that these seven churches were facing. These seven churches represented the totality of all the churches at that time. Churches today have these same issues and can benefit from what the Spirit said to these seven churches.
♦ The messenger in Ephesus sounds his trumpet:
8:7 The first messenger (in Ephesus) sounded (his trumpet), and caused to be (there followed) hail and fire mingled with blood and (they) were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The messenger in Ephesus was a dedicated believer; he was patient and labored hard for the Kingdom’s sake. It was said that he had the ability to recognize the false apostles and that he hated the corrupt actions of the Nicolaitans. But this messenger had lost his first love. His love to Yahweh had not been lost because it was said that he could not bear evil, but his love toward the false leaders had become cold. As he battled against false doctrine he lost the love he had for those who contaminated his flock.
In order to understand what “hail” symbolizes, we must first understand how hail is formed.
Copied from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_does_hail_form;
“Hail forms in storm clouds when super cooled water droplets freeze on contact with condensation nuclei, such as dust or dirt. The storm’s updraft blows the hailstones to the upper part of the cloud. The updraft dissipates and the hailstones fall down, back into the updraft, and are lifted up again. The hailstone gains an ice layer and grows increasingly larger with each ascent. Once a hailstone becomes too heavy to be supported by the storm’s updraft, it falls from the cloud.”
It was said unto Adam, “Out of dust you were taken; for dust you are, and unto dust you shall return (Gen. 3:19). The dust symbolizes man’s carnal nature.
Man is sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water by the Word. The Word removes that which is unclean (Eph. 5:26-27). The Word as dead letter did not change the hearts and minds of those who read it, but when the Holy Spirit joined himself to man, the Word was quickened (anointed) in the believers and the cleansing process began.
The Holy Spirit did not join himself to people that were pure and holy, but to vessels that were willing to think differently, that is, to repent. As the Word came forth out of spiritual babes it created spiritual hail—the Anointed Word was mixed with immaturity.
The Holy Spirit brought judgment (fire) upon their carnality (dust) while the Word (water) cleansed them from their sinful natures. As babes in the anointing, there was always a lack that the Holy Spirit had to address in order to bring the believers into maturity.
Mal. 3:1-3, Behold, I will send my messenger (John the Baptist), and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he (the Anointed SAVIOR’s) shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto Yahweh an offering in righteousness. (Also see Matt. 11:10-11.)
Isa. 28:16-20, Therefore thus saith the Lord Yahweh, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goes forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
Because the Word of Yahweh was mixed with carnality in the leaders, such as the lack of love (being cold), the receivers of the Word were hindered.
1 Cor. 13:1-3, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
The FATHER’s love is not just a feeling; it is his essence (1 John 4:7). Love is the Life-force of his Word; it conveys his attitude. Love must accompany every message given, and must be the motive behind every action whether toward a friend or a foe (1 Cor. 16:14) to be truly effective. The FATHER’s love can only be revealed to the unbelievers by and through the actions of the believers. Without Love’s Life-force being expressed through the leaders, the FATHER would have been nothing more than a pagan god to the unbelievers. When the messenger of Ephesus lost his first love, he lost the Life-force behind his messages.
The message given to the messenger of Ephesus revealed the problem in his church and gave him a remedy, which was to “repent and do his first works over.” The messenger had a choice; he could repent or stay in his place of lack.
The water in the hail symbolized the anointed Word mixed with the carnal nature; therefore, creating spiritual hail—the Holy Spirit working in the believers to bring them into the image of the FATHER. Spiritual hail is used to sweep away that which is not founded upon truth. As Isaiah (28:15) says, “hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies.”
Receiving the Holy Spirit does not make the receiver instantly perfect—spiritually mature. The Holy Spirit teaches the principles of righteousness, but one has a choice to accept or reject the Word. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the believer can grow into the image of the FATHER. The Holy Spirit comforts the believers when they fall short of the Word and encourages them to continue on in well doing.
The believer’s battled against the works of the flesh, which caused calamities (spiritual earthquakes) in their lives and in the lives of those around them. The earthquakes were created by confusion, ignorance, deception, and rebellion.
Fire is the symbol used for the purification of mankind. It is the trials he goes through that bring him out of ignorance. The influence of the Holy Spirit is compared to fire because he comes against unrighteousness (Matt 3:11). The admonition that this messenger received in 2:5 was for his good and for the good of his listeners.
1 Cor. 3:10-16, According to the grace of Yahweh which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is the Anointed SAVIOR. Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know you not that you are the temple of Yahweh, and that the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you?
Notice that which is burnt is not the person, but the works of the person. The messenger of Ephesus and his congregation were saved by the fire experience—the purifying correction—which molded them into instruments used by the FATHER (Isa. 54:16).
Anointed ministers become the flames of fire for the Kingdom of Righteousness:
Heb. 1:6-7, And again, when he brings in the firstbegotten into the world, he said, “And let all the messengers (angels) of Yahweh worship him.” And of the messengers (angels) he said, Who makes his messengers (angels) spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
Here we see the fire mingled with “blood,” which is symbolic of life. Life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11): the Anointed SAVIOR is Life (John 14:6; Matt. 26:27, 28).
John 6:53-58, The SAVIOR said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living FATHER has sent me, and I live by the FATHER: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever.
The “third” part of the trees symbolized a “portion” of humanity. It symbolized the “remnant” of overcomers:
Zech. 13:7-9, Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, said Yahweh of hosts: smite the shepherd (the crucified SAVIOR), and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, said Yahweh, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my God.
The trees symbolized those in leadership. These leaders were exposed to the light of truth that brought judgment upon them. Not all the leaders desired the Spirit of Truth and Righteousness, but those who did went through the fire and the works of their flesh were burned up.
Isa. 61:1-3, The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he might be glorified.
The earth symbolized the natural mind, where the Word (message) of the Kingdom of Righteousness was being planted in the believers.
Mark 4:13-20, He said unto them, Know you not this parable? and how then will you know all parables? The sower sows the word (in the mind of man)….
In John’s vision, all the green grass was burned up. The Greek word for “grass” means “a court or garden that is herbage or vegetation.” This grass symbolized that which the believers produced through natural works.
Isa. 40:3-8, The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Face (Prepare you) the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withers, the flower fades: because the Spirit of Yahweh blows upon it: surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.
The grass that was burned up was the works of the flesh that the believers had always depended upon as their weapons of warfare. Changes had taken place in the minds of the believers. They were submitting to the voice of the FATHER, allowing their old man of sin to die.
Review of the church in Ephesus—
The message that the minister of Ephesus taught was definitely one of redemption. He labored hard and had great influence on the community. Because he lost his first love, he sent out a mixed message, which needed to be corrected. He must have repented and got his first love back because those in his church became the forefathers of true Christianity. The church lasted until 431, which was many years after John’s message was given to the messenger of Ephesus.
♦ The messenger in Smyrna sounds his trumpet:
8:8 And the second messenger (the messenger in Smyrna) sounded (his trumpet), and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
The church in Smyrna was in poverty, yet they were rich in the Word of Yahweh. They apparently were having difficulty with false leaders coming against the messenger of the church for his stand against the Levitical order. He had made it clear that Jerusalem was not a sacred place of worship. He taught that Yahweh’s dwelling place was in the heart and mind of man (1 Cor. 3:16) and not in the natural city of Jerusalem or in the ceremonial practices of the Levitical Priesthood.
This great burning mountain that was cast into the sea is symbolic to that which governed natural Israel, the Levitical order in which they lived by.
Galatians 4:21-31, “Tell me, you that desire to be under the law (Levitical order), do you not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai (law), which genders (procreate) to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is (symbolic of) Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers (i.e. corresponds, or ranks with) to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children (natural Israel). But Jerusalem which is above is free (the heavenly, or Spirit-born), which is the mother of us all. For it is written, rejoice, thou barren that barest not: break forth and cry, thou that travails not: for the desolate (Hagar, or natural Israel) hath many more children than she (Sarah, or the Spirit-born) which has an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (Paul was identifying with the Spirit-born here and not with natural Israel). But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit even so it is now. Nevertheless what says the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman (the natural, or Jerusalem, which then was), and her son (natural works of the flesh); for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we (the Spirit filled believers at Galatia) are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
Throughout the Old Testament the FATHER’s dwelling place was called by different names in order to reveal his glory, power, and strength. (See Zech. 8:3, Joel 3:16-17, Ps. 48:1-3.)
The sea that the great mountain was cast into symbolized mankind’s expression—his emotions, which are associated with his moods, temperaments, and dispositions.
Isa. 17:12, Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
Isa. 24:14-15, They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of Yahweh, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify you Yahweh in the fires, even the name of Yahweh God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
Isa. 57:19-21, I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, says Yahweh; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, said my God, to the wicked. (Also see Pro. 20:5, Isa. 11:15.)
When carnal man’s emotions are allowed expression, judgment can be made upon his actions, his attitude, and his mentality.
The third part of the sea that became blood represents those who accepted and made manifest the Holy Spirit of Truth. They expressed Yahweh through their emotions—making up the third part of the sea that turned to blood.
Isa. 30:18-20, Therefore will Yahweh wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for Yahweh is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: you shall weep no more: he will be very gracious unto you at the voice of your cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer you. And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed (into a corner) any more, but your eyes shall see (understand) your teachers.
Blood is a symbol of Life for the life of all flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:14). Spiritually speaking, blood is the symbol of the Anointed (Life) Word coming forth from the believers (John 6:53-58).
8:9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, that (and) had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
The creatures of the sea symbolized man’s imaginations: the myths and illusions of their carnal understanding. Out of the sea (natural understanding) came forth every imagination of their hearts (Gen. 8:21). There were some that had accepted the Holy Spirit within and their spiritual understanding was opened—the creatures of the sea died.
The word “life” in this scripture is from a Greek word that means “spirit of the animal sentient principle,” which is different than the Greek “pneuma” meaning “breath or vitality.” It was the believer’s animalistic attributes that died in the sea. As their guide and teacher, the Holy Spirit made them aware of the Kingdom of Righteousness and their need to be led by the Spirit of Truth instead of their natural understanding; that is, by the influence of their five senses.
When the Spirit said to the church in Smyrna, “I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty…but you are rich,” he was telling them they had the truth, but they were tainted by those who called themselves Jews and were not. They were Jews by natural bloodline, but they were not spiritual Jews. The SAVIOR explained the difference in John 8:31 through 40. Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Galatia, also, defined spiritual Jews.
Gal. 3:26-29, You are all the children of Yahweh by faith in the Anointed SAVIOR. For as many of you as have been baptized into the Anointed have put on the Anointed. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in the Anointed SAVIOR. And if you be Anointed, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
A virtuous woman is compared to a merchant ship (Prov. 31:10-14). Being shipwrecked is symbolic to one departing from the faith (1 Tim. 1:19). The promises of the FATHER is the anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:16-20). Ships symbolize the believers bringing the Word of Truth to others. The third part of the ships that were destroyed symbolized those who departed from the faith because of persecution and hardship.
Review of the church in Smyrna—
The church in Smyrna was under great pressure. They apparently were a poor class of people because they thought they were poor, but Yahweh told them they were rich. Their richness was not speaking of their possessions, but the wealth of truth they had. Their stand for truth caused those who opposed them to be persecuted (tried) and some of them even died for their stand.
The Christians in Smyrna stood strong in the first century. Because of their Christian influence, Smyrna was one of the few Asian cities that withstood the Turks. They were among the last that succumbed to Islam religion.
♦ The messenger in Pergamos sounds his trumpet:
8:10 And the third messenger (the messenger in Pergamos) sounded, and there fell a Great Star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it alighted (fell) upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the Star is called Wormwood (a medicine): and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
The great Star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, symbolized the Spirit of Revelation that opened the spiritual minds of those seeking for truth. The Spirit of Revelation was the only antidote for false doctrines infecting the body of Christ. Those that had sincere hearts received the Spirit of Revelation and were renewed in the spirit of their minds and through time their old man of sin died (Eph. 1:17-24).
The rivers and fountains of waters symbolized the Word that was contaminated by false doctrines, the parasites.
Ps. 34:17-20, The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Yahweh is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but Yahweh delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Isa. 57:13-15, …he that puts his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; and shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
The FATHER was aware of the faithfulness of the messenger of Pergamos; he had stood strong in faith under persecution. It was stated that he dwelled where the throne of satan was; therefore, he dwelled in the midst of adversity. The teachings of Balaam and Nicolaitan doctrines were strong adversaries to truth and righteousness. These doctrines caused many in his congregation to stumble and commit spiritual fornication. The false doctrines undermined the truth in which the messenger in Pergamos was faithful to.
Wormwood was a bitter herb used to rid the body of parasites, but because it contained a toxic substance, it had to be taken properly or it became fatal to the patient.
The false leaders were spiritual parasites that were feeding upon the minds of people. They were undermining the church in Pergamos with their false doctrines (spiritual parasites) just as the false prophets did in the days of Jeremiah. The Wormwood represented the Spirit of Revelation as the remedy used against these parasites.
Jer. 23:13-16, I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith Yahweh of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith Yahweh of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Yahweh. (See also Jer. 9:13-15.)
Notice what happened to the water (the Word) when the Wormwood come upon it—it became bitter. The SAVIOR told the messenger of Pergamos that the overcomers would be given the hidden manna (the Word), which was sweet like honey (Ex. 16:31), but if they did not repent, he, the Word, the two-edged sword, would fight against them.
Review of the church of Pergamos:
The messenger of Pergamos was reprimanded because he allowed the Nicolaitan and Balaam doctrines to be taught in his church. These false doctrines accepted by the Pergamos congregation worked in the same way as parasites do in the body. This church needed a good dose of the Spirit of Revelation to remove the parasites that were moving about freely in the Body of believers. The revealing of these parasites was bitter because truth forced them to see their spiritual condition.
The city of Pergamos was a city known for its addiction to idolatry. Because the city of Pergamos was the center of false gods, it must have been quite difficult not to be influenced by them. There were some in this church that received the Spirit of Revelation and became a great influence in the Christian community, but those who stayed in false doctrines worked against the very foundation of Christian morality.
Balaam’s teaching from Josephus, Anti-quities of the Jews, Book 4 – Ch. 6 para. 6.
“Do you therefore set out the handsomest of such of your daughters as are most eminent for beauty, and proper to force and conquer the modesty of those that behold them, and these decked and trimmed to the highest degree able. Then do you send them to be near camp, and give them in charge, that the young men of the Hebrews desire their company allow it them; and when they see they are enamored of them, let them take leaves; and if they entreat them to stay, let not give their consent till they have persuaded them to leave off their obedience to their own laws, the worship of that God who established them to worship the gods of the Midianites and Moabites: for by this means God will be angry at them. Accordingly, when Balaam had suggested counsel to them, he went his way.”
History does not give much insight on the Nicolaitans or of their doctrine. Whatever it was, it had the same effect on the people as the doctrine of Balaam and should not have been taught.
♦ The messenger in Thyatira sounds his trumpet:
8:12 And the fourth messenger (the messenger in Thyatira) sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
The church of Thyatira must have gotten a slow start because it was stated, “You are now doing more than you did at first” (Rev. 2:19, NIV). The messenger had more to learn because the Jezebel spirit was in his church influencing some and causing them to commit spiritual fornication—idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of Yahweh.
Remember that the sun and the moon were for signs and for seasons. The sun symbolized Truth, miracles, and supernatural happenings—this was Yahweh’s way of communicating with his children. These stars represented the truth as it was manifested through the messengers. Yahweh communicated with his children through prophets, judges, and the priests. This fourth messenger’s knowledge was lacking, he was allowing the voice of Jezebel to influence his congregation causing them to commit idolatry.
Rev. 2:20, Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffered that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
These false teachings were likened unto Jezebel. At the time of John’s vision, Jezebel was already dead; she symbolized those in the church that used her same principles. Some in the church were saying that Yahweh said this or that, when in reality he had not. These teachers were being led by their own theories; therefore, not hearing the voice of the FATHER. Only a portion of his congregation heard the truth, which is also symbolized as a third.
The messenger in Thyatira was not making a distinction between good and bad; therefore, he caused confusion and leniency. There was no day—a revealing of truth, nor night—a revealing of sin, in a portion of the members of his church. It is the same principle as: “Whatever you want to believe is fine; just as long as you believe something.” Basically, this is saying, Whatever a person believes is truth as long as he truly believes it.
Paul explained the importance of “truth” to the Roman church like this:
Rom. 7:9-14, I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? Yahweh forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Review of the church in Thyatira:
The church in Thyatira did many good works, they were charitable and had good outward appearances, but the doctrine of Jezebel was seducing the people by persuading them that their carnal ideas were from Yahweh. It was vital that they stand for truth if they did not want to go into great tribulation.
This congregation was committing spiritual fornication and adultery. Yahweh’s reprimand to them was strong.
Rev. 2:22-23, Behold, I will cast Jezebel into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their actions (deeds). And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Jezebel’s children were not her natural children, but that which was produced from her doctrine. Her doctrine held the people in death. Their works had to be burned because they did not produce Life. They suffered loss, but they themselves were saved (1 Cor. 3:15).
Jezebel – Quoted from the book of Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 8 – Chapter 13 paragraph 1.
“This woman was active and bold, and fell into so great a degree of impurity and madness, that she built a temple to the god of the Tyrians, Which they call Belus, and planted a grove of all sorts of trees; she also appointed priests and false prophets to this god. The king also himself had many such about him, and so exceeded in madness and wickedness all [the kings] that went before him.”
8:13 And I (John) beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three messengers, which are yet to sound!
A woe is connected to each of the next three churches yet to sound their trumpets. The word “woe” is a warning of the judgment to come brought on by the message given by the Spirit of Truth through the messengers.