Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and [which are] the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
These are folks who call themselves God’s people and are spiritually dead in terms of any zeal for godliness. They are physically alive and claiming to be God’s people but they are spiritually dead; following their own ways, false traditions of men and idols of men, instead of being alive and full of the fire of zeal to live by every Word of God. The Sardis warning applies to the vast majority of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia.
3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
We have some things right but instead of truly GROWING in knowledge, understanding and the works of faith; we are stagnant and even letting those right things that we knew in the past slip away.
Today the Ekklesia is doing exactly that: As was prophesied, they are turning from any zeal to learn and keep the whole Word and Will of God in a great falling away from the Word of Life.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Jesus then warned that if these folks are not watching for him, his coming will catch them by surprise. This means that this attitude will exist at his coming. It also means that even in the midst of the great tribulation some will be in denial, too spiritually dead to realize what is taking place.
Revelation 3:3 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.
Yet, there are a few who will sincerely repent and turn to a zeal for godliness; then the sacrifice of Christ will be applied to them, purifying them and making their garments pure [imputing godly righteousness], clean and white.
3:4 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.
With God all things are possible and even some of those who are spiritually dead [which is the vast majority of today’s Ekklesia] will be saved and turned to God, receiving the gift of the oil of the Holy Spirit; so that their light which has gone out, might be reignited that they may shine brightly with godliness.
3:5 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.
3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Jesus begins his message to Philadelphia by remarking that He is the Door and the Way and the Key into the kingdom of God and eternal life.
It is Jesus Christ who judges us and who can let us in or shut us out of the resurrection to eternal life. No man can take away our promise of eternal life by casting us out of some corporation; nor does belonging to some corporate church a pass to enter eternal life!
Only fidelity to our espoused Husband and God the Father alone will bring eternal life!
When men say that questioning them is questioning God and that leaving them is leaving God: They LIE! It is not blindly following idols of men that brings eternal life; only being a part of the true Spiritual Ekklesia who live by every Word of God brings acceptance by God and eternal life!
3:7 And to the angel [one of the seven spirits] of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Those with a Philadelphian attitude of absolute faith in God and a full wholehearted zeal for learning and living by every Word of God, have an open door to God the Father and into eternal life!
Jesus Christ is the door of salvation to those who are faithful and He will open the way to eternal life if we are diligent to internalize the very nature of God the Father like he did!
Those who are diligent to keep the Word of God and who do not deny the name [authority] of God and his Word over his people; will be changed to spirit on that day!
I capitalize the word “Word” for a reason; Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Word; summing up the whole of Holy Scriptures with God the Father! To break any art of the Word of God, is to break the teachings of Jesus Christ, the WORD who inspired all of scripture!
ONLY those who keep the whole Word of God and exalt the name [authority] of God above all others will have access to God the Father through the door of Jesus Christ to eternal life!
A Philadelphian is weak having only a little strength, he knows that and therefore relies on the strength of the Eternal Almighty God! He knows that in the flesh he is weak and seeks spiritual strength from God to overcome; he runs to and takes refuge in the Mighty God!
3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Those who are full of zeal to live by every Word of God will be made eternal priests and kings [teachers and leaders] and those of the nations who hated the zealous for God will sincerely repent and they will worship God at the feet of [under the tutelage of] the Philadelphian attitude folks who are full of faithful zeal for godliness.
3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
If the zealous for God patiently endure and wait; they will be the wise (Dan 12), the “children of light” (1 Thess 5): They will not be taken by surprise when the tribulation and later Jesus Christ comes; they will understand the biblical signs and they will obey the words of God’s prophets and so will be kept from the hour of trial.
Those who are full of zeal for godliness and study carefully, Watching for the coming of their LORD, will be preserved from the terrible correction of a righteous God on the earth.
Yes, there is a place of refuge, as David said; that refuge is in the arms of our Mighty Deliverer! Follow and zealously keep the whole Word and Will of God; and when God says to do this or to do that, or he says to go here or to go there: Follow him and DO IT!
3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience [patiently lived by every Word of God], I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [a 42 month period], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
A pillar is a supporting column that stands on a firm foundation, the pillars of God stand on the firm foundation of every Word of God and are full of a zeal to learn and live by every Word of God!
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [the scriptures], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple [growing into a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit] in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
A pillar helps to hold up the rest of the structure; the pillars of God will stand on the foundation of the whole Word of God and will help to hold up the rest of the Spiritual Ekklesia of the faithful.
If the zealous to keep the whole Word of God and endure all trials remain faithful; they will become permanent pillars in the eternal government of God; and they will have the name [authority] of God and of the capital of His eternal government, the New Jerusalem forever. They shall occupy positions of responsibility in God’s government and will act on behalf of God and God’s government, not just in the millennium, but forever!
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The Philadelphian pillar is a person who is weak and knows it; therefore he relies upon God and seeks the strength of God rather than trying to stand on his own strength.
He is zealous to root out all error and internalize the truth of God. He is faithful to follow God in all things and will not turn aside to follow any man or spirit away from his zeal to follow the whole Word of God.
Yes, he makes mistakes and occasionally slips; and when he does instead of giving up, he admits his errors, sincerely repents and cries out to his heavenly Father for deliverance!
There are those who say that “I am a Philadelphian because God does not criticize that church.” That is a proud, arrogant and totally ignorant attitude: ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God!
Jesus Christ does not criticize Philadelphia because he does not have to! The Philadelphian pillar is well aware of his short comings, and he knows that he has no strength in himself; therefore he runs to the Eternal and takes refuge in the Eternal, the Mighty High Tower of Strength; to seek and find deliverance.
The true Philadelphian attitude is one of humility before God, relying totally on God; KNOWING that we are so weak and so sinful and knowing that God is so great, strong and powerful; that they RUN TO HIM and seek HIS STRENGTH to deliver!
The difference between the Philadelphian and the others is: HUMILITY and true LOVE for the Eternal and all his ways. They know that they are weak and fall short, and therefore they are filled with complete loving submission to the whole Word of God!
The true Philadelphian attitude person is usually someone who has been most wicked and is therefore often despised by others; however they, like David, have deeply repented and they KNOW how much God has forgiven him and are therefore full of the deepest passionate love for their Deliverer. They are so full of love for God that they would do anything to please God.
Luke 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
7:49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
There were pillars throughout the physical temple; representing that the human spiritual pillars are also scattered throughout the Ekklesia. There is no such thing as a true Philadelphian corporate church of God today. The true Philadelphian pillars are scattered throughout the Ekklesia and are very often serving God independently.
To Laodicea Jesus identifies himself as the faithful and true witness of what they are truly like. They think themselves spiritually rich and have no idea what Jesus Christ really thinks of them. Jesus here tells them their problems straight out, but they are proud and willfully blind to reality.
Laodicea means the people will be judged and corrected.
Lao: the people:
Dike: judged [condemned by the law and punished, corrected]
Definition: diké: right (as self-evident), justice (the principle, a decision or its execution)
Original Word: d???, ??, ?
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (dee’-kay)
Short Definition: justice, judicial hearing, punishment
Definition: (a) (originally: custom, usage) right, justice, (b) process of law, judicial hearing, (c) execution of sentence, punishment, penalty, (d) justice, vengeance. Cognate: 1349 díke – properly, right, especially a judicial verdict which declares someone approved or disapproved; a judgment (just finding) that regards someone (something) as “guilty” or “innocent.” See 1343 (dikaiosyne).
[1349 (díke) is used in classical Greek for a legal decision – a recompense (based on justice). In the LXX, dike is used nine times to translate rî, the Hebrew term for “law-suit.”]
STRONGS NT 1349:
1. custom, usage, (cf. Schmidt, chapter 18, 4 cf. 3).
2. right, justice.
3. a suit at law.
4. a judicial hearing, judicial decision, especially a sentence of condemnation; so in Acts 25:15 (L T Tr WH ?atad????).
5. execution of the sentence, punishment, (Wis. 18:11; 2 Macc. 8:11): d???? ?p??e??, Jude 1:7; d???? (Sophocles El. 298; Aj. 113; Euripides, Or. 7), to suffer punishment, 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
6. the goddess Justice, avenging justice: Acts 28:4, as in Greek writings often from Hesiod theog. 902 on; (of the avenging justice of God, personified, Wis. 1:8, etc.; cf. Grimm at the passage and commentary on 4 Macc., p. 318, (he cites 4 Macc. 4:13, 21; 8:13, 21; 9:9; 11:3; 12:12; 18:22; Philo adv. Flacc. § 18; Eusebius, h. e. 2, 6, 8)).
suffer, weep, ache, lament, sorrow, bewail
Probably from deiknuo; right (as self-evident), i.e. Justice (the principle, a decision, or its execution) — judgment, punish, vengeance.
see GREEK deiknuo
Jesus emphasizes that his message to Laodicea is true and is coming out of Christ’s faithful love for them, in the hope that they might repent and be saved.
Jesus also calls himself the “beginning of the creation of God;” clearly meaning that Christ is the Creator who began the creation of all things. See Revelation 1:8. 1:11, 21:6, 22:13 I am the Alpha [Beginning]
Revelation 3:14 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;
Laodicea is spiritually lukewarm, professing godliness while keeping the commandments according to their own imaginations instead of keeping them the way that God commands.
They pay lip service to godliness without any zeal to learn and keep the Word of God. Their zeal is for their own ways and what they think, for their own past false traditions and their idols of men and not for what God says. They stand on their false past traditions and proudly think they know it all; refusing any spiritual growth they are stagnant or even falling backward in their spiritual condition.
They are hot for their own traditions, and for the teachings of their idols of men about the Word of God, and cold for zealously keeping the whole Word as God, as God has commanded them. This mixture of hot for their idols of men and corporate entities, and a cold, lack of zeal to keep the Word of God, makes them lukewarm and revolting to God the Father and Jesus Christ.
They are idolaters of men and tradition; proud, thinking that they know it all spiritually and therefore they reject any correction from God or man; they reject the Word of God for their own ways and they reject any growth in truth and refuse to turn from error.
This is a clear, obvious, indisputable and precise explanation of the overwhelming majority in the Ekklesia today!
Because these folks have rejected Jesus Christ to follow him above our idols of men they will be rejected by Christ into the correction of great tribulation, in the hope that through the correction of the flesh the spirit may be saved.
3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth [They will be rejected by Christ into severe correction].
Proud and self-willed, they think they are spiritually rich and know it all, having no need of spiritual growth, and they reject the increase in spiritual knowledge and understanding promised for the last days, Daniel 12.
They reject any part of scripture which they do not want to follow, saying it is for others; and they are so proud and arrogant they have no idea how spiritually wretched, miserable, poor and naked of godly righteousness they really are.
They are willfully blind to their own condition and to the things of God that disprove their own false ways; They lack the garments of righteousness and are naked of any righteousness before God, their many sins being exposed to Him; beginning with the sins of pride and self-justification and self-approval.
3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich [spiritually], and increased with goods [spiritual knowledge], and have need of nothing [no one not even Jesus Christ (the Word of God) can tell them anything]; and knowest not that thou art [spiritually] wretched, and miserable, and [spiritually] poor [knowing almost nothing of God as they ought to know it], and blind [they are willfully blind to their wretched spiritual state], and naked [naked of any true godly righteousness, not being zealous to keep the Word of God]:
Jesus Christ counsels those with the Laodicean attitude which is by far the overwhelming majority of the major corporate Assemblies today, to buy spiritual gold in the fire of tribulation so that they may become spiritually rich.
They are bidden to sincerely repent of their prideful sins so that the nakedness of their wickedness may be covered by the application of the sacrifice of Christ; and so that they may receive God’s Holy Spirit and the white raiment of the righteousness of the zealous keeping of the whole Word of God.
They are commanded to anoint their eyes and open them to see themselves as God sees them, and to sincerely repent from their pride and false ways and to turn away from their idols of men and false traditions to follow the Spirit of God into all truth; rejecting all error and sin to embrace godly truth so that they might be saved.
3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold [spiritual wisdom] tried in the fire [during the period of our correction in the fire of tribulation], that thou mayest be rich [become spiritually rich]; and white raiment [the righteousness of zealously keeping the whole Word of God], that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness [that our sins might be covered by the righteousness of God] do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, [acquire the Holy Spirit through sincere repentance] that thou mayest see [We are told to open our eyes to see ourselves as God sees us, to see ourselves as we really are, so that we can repent and be saved].
Jesus reminds these folks that he rebukes them only because he truly loves them and is not willing that they should perish. They are rejected only because they first rejected Christ, refusing to keep the whole Word of God, refusing to follow Christ and refusing to live by every Word of God in Christ-like zeal.
Jesus Christ tells those of the Laodicean attitude which is the overwhelming attitude throughout the Ekklesia today; to REPENT of their pride and self-righteousness. and to REPENT of trusting in their idols of men and false traditions.
Jesus Christ tells us to turn to him and turn to a zeal for the whole Word of God, to learn it and to keep it; to turn from our false idols and false traditions and to become zealous to remove error and embrace the truth of God!
3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Jesus is warning and calling each one of his straying sheep; He wants us to open up to him, to reject idols of men and false traditions and to follow him, to be zealous to remove sin and to embrace God’s righteous truth and to internalize the solid meat of the Word of God in fellowship with Jesus Christ and God the Father.
We have an open invitation from Jesus Christ who is gladly willing to accept us, if we would only open up our eyes and turn to Him!
3:20 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 [eat; internalize the Word of God] with him, and he with me.
Only those who overcome this Laodicean attitude of pride and self-will will be resurrected to spirit. Those who sincerely repent of the sins of Laodicea will be in the resurrection to eternal life and they will have a place in the eternal government of God.
3:21 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.
3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
As the seventh and last church addressed, Laodicea has all of the problems of the other six churches.
That is because pride is the chief cause of most of the various problems. Today all the major Assemblies and most of the smaller ones are full of pride and idolatry, rejecting any biblical thing they do not agree with, claiming it applies only to others.
They think of themselves as the repository of all wisdom and truth, and refuse any zeal to live by every Word of God in order to follow their corporate idols, idols of men and their own false traditions.
They call the Sabbath and High Days, Holy; and then they walk all over them, while claiming that the commandments not to cook or buy food on Sabbath somehow apply to others and not to themselves. They insist on following the apostate Rabbinic Calendar even resorting to lying to attempt to justify themselves, and they refuse to keep the Biblical Calendar of God even though the proofs are overwhelming.
They have almost no understanding of the Festivals, rejecting the true meanings of the Festivals; even still claiming that the seven day Feast of Tabernacles somehow represents only one thousand years. They reject any zeal for keeping the Word of God, and insist on a zeal for their corporate idols, idols of men and past false traditions, insisting that people should obey them above the Word of God.
The Mosaic Pharisees were a type of Laodicea
The Laodicean attitude is an exact replica of the primary attitude of the Mosaic Pharisees during the physical ministry of Christ.
Contrary to popular belief the Mosaic Pharisees were NOT zealous for the law, rather they made the law of God of no effect by their own false traditions just as today’s modern Ekklesia does!
In Matthew 15:9 Jesus said of the Mosaic Pharisees; and this is a very precise description of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia:
Matthew 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 23 describes the attitude during the physical ministry of Jesus Christ; and it also accurately describes the church of God groups right before Christ comes to rule: today!
Jesus speaks privately to his disciples and begins to criticize the Mosaic scribes and Pharisees; which are analogous to today’s Nicolaitane Laodiceans.
Jesus begins by saying that the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat. Of course that was overturned when they had Christ killed; and Jesus Christ replaced the Levitical priesthood as the new High Priest of the ancient order of Melchisedec, and God’s faithful became the Royal Priesthood of the New Covenant.
1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe [believe and obey] he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient [to the Word of God], the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
This is not just talking about Judaism rejecting Jesus Christ! It is talking about ALL those who will not enthusiastically live by every Word of God as Jesus taught (Mat 4:4)!
What? I mean that many of those called to God refuse to follow Jesus Christ in living by every Word of God as Jesus commanded us, rejecting parts of God’s Word for our own false ways and traditions; bowing to idols of men and committing spiritual adultery against our Lord.
Today most professing Christians stumble at Christ, wrongly thinking that his sacrifice made keeping much of the Word of God no longer binding. Such people are rejecting Jesus Christ!
We stumble at Christ with many teaching a false Christ who will tolerate sin and forgives any sin we might do in future in advance: Thus making Christ’s sacrifice a license to continue in sin.
They say “keep the commandments” and then they say that we are weak and Jesus understands that, so if we sin here and there Jesus will automatically forgive because he has paid for sin in advance, thus making a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ.
Mainstream Christianity has been taken in by this lie and so have very many in the Ekklesia.
We have misunderstood and so stumbled at Jesus Christ!
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors [against the Word of God] , heady [intoxicated with pride], highminded [exalting our own ways], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God [paying others to serve us on God’s Sabbath for our own pleasure]; 3:5 Having a form [an appearance, a put on, a show] of godliness, but denying the power [exalting themselves above the authority of the Word of God] thereof: from such turn away.
Of course we are weak and cannot overcome on our own; but with the indwelling strength of God’s Spirit and our faithful following of God’s Word we shall be overcomers. Not by our own strength, but by the power of that ultimate over comer, Jesus Christ!
3:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
The Called Out, the passionately obedient and faithful to God the Father and Jesus Christ, zealously learning and keeping the whole Word of God like Christ commanded us to, are qualifying to enter the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ which transcends and replaces the seat of Moses!
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 23:2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Just like many elders today the Mosaic scribes and Pharisees bound heavy burdens on the people which they would not bear themselves. They were hypocrites not keeping what they taught.
23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
With the death of the Husband of Israel the marriage between Israel and Christ ended and so did the authority of the Mosaic Levitical Priesthood, the scribes and the Mosaic Pharisees; and the Hellenized Rabbins NEVER had any right to Moses seat!
When Christ ascended to heaven and was accepted as a sacrifice for us; he became our High Priest and the King of the world in waiting; the Mosaic priesthood was superseded by a reestablishment of the High Priesthood of Melchizedek[See the Hebrews studies].
When he comes Jesus Christ will build a new physical temple and those Levites descended from Zadok will again serve in that physical temple; doing those physical things necessary for that physical temple service (Ezek 40-48). Yet they will also be converted to Christ and grafted into the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant at that time.
The only true Priesthood now and forever more; is that of our High Priest Jesus Christ [Melchizedek] and those called out with the potential to become priests of the priesthood of Jesus Christ forever in the coming Kingdom of God. All of God’s faithful are in training to become priests forever in that spiritual priesthood of Jesus Christ [Melchizedek].
We are to rely on the example and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole body of scriptures that was inspired by HIM, for our religion!
23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
This is about the Mosaic Pharisees love of titles and the chief seats, and love of being preeminent above the brethren; not about calling your true father “father” nor is it about calling some man Mr. in common usage; it is talking about a love of ecclesiastical titles. This is about elders demanding to be called father or Mr. or Rabbi as an ecclesiastical title to create a hierarchy of men between the brethren and God.
Sound familiar? Just substitute the word Master or “father” or padre etc with Rabbi, Mister, Reverend etc! Oh, how we love to put on a show and impress people; Oh, how church elders love titles, the pre-eminence and the chief seats today.
From this instruction of Jesus it has always been customary in the Spiritual Ekklesia to call everyone brothers and sisters, including elders and leaders in the Ekklesia, until this leaven of pride infected us.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The idea of a pyramidal structure of layers of authority between men and God is an abomination to God. It is the job of ALL elders to focus all people on God the Father and Christ: NEVER to come between the people and God; but to act as facilitators in helping people to focus DIRECTLY on God the Father through their ONLY High Priest and Mediator; Jesus Christ!
We are to prove the words of ALL men by the Word of Almighty God! We are NOT to interpret God’s Word by the words of men; we are to prove the words of men by the Word of Almighty God!
Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
We are all to desire to serve our God and not to exalt ourselves. God will exalt or abase as HE sees fit.
23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
All of those men who love to exalt themselves over the people with grand titles as they spurn any zeal for God’s Word will be abased in due time; being cast into the furnace of correction.
Those who humble themselves to be zealous to learn and to keep the whole Word of God, shall be exalted by Almighty God in due time.
23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
How? By paying lip-service to God’s Word while making it of no effect with the false traditions of men, and through rejection of scripture or compromise in the practical application of God’s Word.
23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Demanding money of poor widows, taking the inheritances of orphans and making a show of prayer.(Mat 6 and Luk 18).
23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
How? By teaching people to obey men, organizations and false traditions, instead of focusing them on sincere repentance and a diligent passionate obedience of God’s Word.
People have been deceived into thinking that the Mosaic Pharisees were zealous for the letter of law; when in fact they were zealous for their own traditions above the Word of God!
Today the Spiritual Ekklesia focus on their own false traditions of men as being so important that they exalt them over the scriptures and make the Word of God of no effect by their false traditions; exactly like the Mosaic Pharisees did!
23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
Today’s major professing Christians exalt their corporate idols and exalt obedience to men above obedience to God. They place mammon and numbers above sincere repentance, faith and a zeal to obey God.
To a lesser or greater degree in the different groups, we commit the exact same sin as Jesus rebuked the Mosaic Pharisees for:
Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother [or wife or children who God has blessed us with, and given us responsibility to care for], It is a gift [ offering for the church], by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Jesus said that God and God’s Word are everything!
Matthew 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 23:22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
In preaching the important thing is NOT the numbers of responses, but the quality of the message! The important thing is not the building [the organization] but serving and obeying the Eternal God on his throne who sits in absolute authority over all things! God will most certainly judge us by our works; whether of faithful uncompromising obedience, or of rebellious compromising with HIS Word!
23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Demanding every last cent that can be demanded or extorted while ignoring and not teaching sincere repentance from evil doing, and faith, mercy and sound judgment based on God’s Word, is an unbalanced priority.
We are to be merciful to the poor in their needs; and we are to be merciful to the sincerely repentant instead of condemning them for being over righteous.
We are to preach a message of warning and repentance and teach a zeal for God and his Word; so that the mercy of God who gave his only begotten Son for us, might be applied to the sincerely repentant to reconcile sinners to God the Father.
23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
This is a figure of speech that simply means that we strain at the little unimportant things like money and numbers; and neglect the really important things like an enthusiastic zeal to live by every Word of God.
23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Likewise today’s Ekklesia try to put up a good appearance outside, and we are full of sin inside ourselves and our organizations!
We need to clean up our own spiritual lives and get right with God. We need to rekindle our passionate zeal for God to live by every Word of God; we need to get rid of all false traditions of men not consistent with scripture!
We need to stop rejecting those scriptures that we do not like because they destroy our false traditions, and we need to start setting a godly example instead of acting so shamefully!
We need to stop exalting men and organizations above God and God’s Word; equating loyalty to men as being equal to loyalty to God. We need to sincerely repent and turn to our God with passionate enthusiastic zeal; and we need to begin to preach the Gospel of warning and sincere repentance that Jesus Christ has commanded us to preach.
23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 23:30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Today we claim to honor the prophets and ancient men of God while persecuting those who are filled with a similar zeal: Showing ourselves that we are no better than those who persecuted the saints of old.
23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Today many persecute the zealous just as was done in the past.
Jesus says of the Mosaic Pharisees in those days; and he says the same things to today’s Spiritual Ekklesia:
23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Jesus prophesies that the religious establishment of that day and of today will reject the prophets and spiritually wise and persecute them; rejecting godliness to follow their own idols of men and false traditions.
23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Those who reject the scriptures and persecute the zealous for the Word of God in the Ekklesia today are no different than the Mosaic Pharisees who are likened to vipers which hide along the path waiting to strike the unwary.
When a person goes to today’s corporate Ekklesia with questions; very many of the leaders and elders reason with them that they should not be zealous for the Word of God, but should follow their traditions just like the ancient Pharisees did!
Then if the zealous will not be dissuaded from their zeal for God; they persecute such zeal by calling the zealous Pharisaic; when it is they themselves who are Pharisaic: Filled with zeal for their own groups, their idols of men and their false traditions, while rejecting any scripture that contradicts their false ways!
Since Cain slew Abel it has ever been thus; the faithless and compromising have always persecuted the faithful and zealous. Those who exalt the Lord their God; will face resistance from outside and from inside these latter day church organizations, just as they did from the Mosaic Pharisees.
Such persecuted people should REJOICE for they are being tempered and tested to become pillars in the Temple of The Great God for all eternity.
If they stand on the foundation of the Word of Almighty God without turning aside, no matter what the stress; they will be made fit by God to stand on that sure foundation for all eternity!
23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
These persecutions came upon the saints by the religious establishment of that day, and have continued to this day.
Now in this generation; which is the last generation before the resurrection to spirit of the chosen and the coming of Christ to establish the Kingdom of God over all the earth; the majority of the called out to God have fallen away and will not endure sound doctrine; rejecting the scriptures and rejecting all those who love and keep the whole Word of God.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they [today’s Spiritual Ekklesia i.e. Laodicea; Rev 3:15] will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem [the actual city and also as the capital representing all physical and spiritual Israel], thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
This is about the city Jerusalem and is figuratively about the faithless who persecute the faithful today and throughout history. Jesus Christ would have saved them, if only they would accept his deliverance and turn to him, away from sin and compromise with God the Father’s Word.
Both Jerusalem and all faithless people will be made desolate in the tribulation; it is then that many will repent and turn to the ONLY ONE that can truly save!
23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of [in the authority of] the Lord.
When Messiah the Christ comes, the people will be humbled and sincerely repentant and they will call him ‘Blessed,” acknowledging his Messiah-ship, accepting him and seeking his deliverance with shouts of Hosanna [Save Us]!
Then people will be sincerely repentant and will no longer reject the scriptures and reject any zeal to keep them; instead they will shout for joy at his appearance; crying out “Blessed is he ]The people will sincerely repent in great tribulation and when Christ comes they will call him Blessed] that cometh in the name [in the authority of] of the Lord”!
Philadelphia and Laodicea
Jesus illustrated the difference between a Philadelphian and a Laodicean, the difference between a holy attitude and a profane and unacceptable attitude in this parable.
These prayers are not just words, they reveal the attitude of the person praying, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee [Laodicean], and the other a publican [Philadelphian].
18:11 The Pharisee [Laodicean] stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
18:13 And the publican [Sincerely repentant sinner; Philadelphian], standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Today the true Philadelphian pillars are either standing alone or scattered throughout the overwhelmingly Laodicean Ekklesia.
Oh, why do we Laodiceans exalt ourselves to live by our own false traditions and reject any true humble passion for our Mighty One who could deliver us! Proud and thinking ourselves rich in spiritual things, thinking we know it all: We have become spiritually dead, apostate from our Master.
The various church attitudes may have dominated at various historical tines, but the seven churches existed together at the same time in the first century and each one is an instructional example for us. All of these problems and strengths exist at the same time in these last days.
- Today like Ephesus, we have lost the passionate zeal of our first love for truth and godliness and the whole Word of God.
- Today like Smyrna, there are some who are faithful to God and God’s Word and suffer much persecution.
- Today like Pergamos, there are some who have not denied the authority of God and the scriptures and yet they tolerate Nicolaitane bullying.
- Today like Thyatira, there are those who are full of good works, but in their zeal to do good to their neighbor have lost sight of their obligations to God. Do NOT mistake love of man; for love of God!
As a bride is to be faithful to her husband, our first duty is to our spiritual Husband and all good works to others are secondary. Many unconverted people are also full of good works towards humanity and do not obey God; how are we different from them if we are also full of good works for humanity and forget our LORD?
We should be filled with good works towards men; while not forgetting to put our LORD first in our lives!
What say you? If a bride put her personal charitable works ahead of her love and obedience to her husband, will the husband think that she loves her own works more than she loves him? It is a very good thing to do good works for people, but such good works should not override our zeal for our LORD!
- Today, like Sardis, the Ekklesia is largely spiritually dead, having no fire of zeal to live by every Word of God.
- Today like Philadelphia, there are some faithful who are standing on the foundation of the whole Word of God. Today they are scattered like pillars throughout the various assemblies and standing alone. In a very short time now God’s two servants will call for the faithful to gather together and leave for the place which God has prepared; the faithful pillars will respond to God’s call while the others will not, thus separating out the faithful from the others.
- Today like Laodicea, the Ekklesia is overwhelmingly proud, arrogant and unteachable by God. They reject large parts of God’s Word and very much truth, to follow their idols of men and false traditions. They will not respond positively to God’s warnings and the only way to save them from certain eternal death is to afflict the flesh to humble them so that the spirit might be saved.