THE SEVEN CHURCHES mentioned in the book of Revelation were churches founded upon Paul’s teachings. But they also pertain to the religions or religious beliefs that grew out of those teachings, which were formed between the middle of the first century up until the twenty-first century.
The number seven pertains to the spiritual. An angel is a messenger. We are to hear the message of the churches. To hear is to believe, which is to obey or put action to these spiritual works.
“ Unto the angel of the church of EPHESUS write… I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars… and for my name’s sake hast labored… Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou has left thy first love… repent and do the first works…” Revelation 2:1-5
The message of the first church is to begin the works of tearing down the false religious image or belief, which begins with identifying the lies in its doctrine, which is to labor for my name’s sake; for the sake of truth. The first love we left when we unwittingly bought into the religious lie. Now we must repent, which is to think differently about the Word of God, and do the first works, which is to seek the spiritual truth of God’s Word, through which we overcome the religious iniquity. Ephesus is the first church, representing mainstream Christianity, which is made up of three main religions: Catholic, Trinity, and Pentecost, which takes us from the middle of the first century to the beginning of the twentieth century, the Pentecostal theology dating back to 1905. All three built upon the teachings of the apostle Paul. A doctrine of lies that will not stand in the face of truth.
“And unto the angel of the church in SMYRNA write… I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews but are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life… He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11
The works are the labor they have put into seeking truth, their tribulation being the rejection they feel from those they once considered friends. Those who have discovered the lies or iniquity in the doctrines of religion, and who are now seeking truth, were poor, but are now rich through the truth that is being revealed to them. Those “which say they are Jews but are not,” are (in the spiritual sense) those which say they believe, but do not, because to believe is to put action to the spiritual works made known to us through these churches. The devil symbolizes the religious iniquity, which through their sincere desire to overcome, will cast some of them into prison, which is a good thing! It was in the solitude of prison that Joseph became introspective, coming in contact with the baker and the butler, symbolizing the spirit and word of God. The ten days is not about a literal period of time, but about what occurs during this time, which is a change in the way we think about God’s Word. Those who stay faithful by completing the works of the first six churches experience “the second death”— a spiritual death, through which they will receive a crown of life— spiritual life. Those “which say they are Jews but are not” are (in the literal sense) Messianic Jews. They “are of the synagogue of Satan” because the carnal traditions they observe are being counted as iniquity, which Satan symbolizes (Isaiah 1:13). Messianic Judaism emerged in the 1960s, which combines Christianity with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition. Jesus said, “salvation is of the Jews.” However, both the Jews of Jesus’ time and the Messianic Jews of our time, have rejected the salvation that comes with keeping the spiritual works that Messiah spoke of and demonstrated for us while he was on this earth. The Jews that Jesus is speaking of, are those who become spiritual Jews through a spiritual circumcision. Messianic Jews “blasphemy” by proclaiming they are Jews before they have experienced the spiritual circumcision that would mark them as true Jews. The tribulation is the time of trouble the Prophet Daniel spoke of, which is already in progress. Its purpose? To bring on the spiritual birth.
“And to the angel of the church in PERGAMOS write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. 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… But I have a few things against thee, because thou has there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and commit fornication… To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:12-17
The sword with two edges symbolizes the word of God, which being truth, exposes the iniquity found in the beliefs that are associated with the first four churches. The work of this church is to hold fast to the name, which is to hold fast to the truth through which Satan, symbolizing the iniquity in the doctrine of Balaam (The Church), is taken out of the way, which is a process.
Balac was the king of Moab, meaning inbred, referring to the inbred thoughts or iniquity that speaks for the false religious belief, the stumblingblock that was cast before the children of Israel; those that are unskilled in the spiritual word or works of God, causing them to commit spiritual fornication. It is in overcoming the iniquity of this unholy intercourse, that one eats of the hidden manna, receiving a white stone, symbolizing a righteous truth, receiving a new name, symbolizing a new truth, written upon the heart of the one doing the works.
The Messianic Jews movement of the 60s was followed by the New Age Christian movement of the 70s and 80’s. Many Christians who became disillusioned with mainstream Christianity got caught up in this movement, not aware that the doctrine was actually no different then the one they thought they left behind. It had just been cleverly repackaged in a new age wrapping by offering a spiritual or esoteric perspective on God’s Word. But the basic principles were the same. The term New Age can be applied to a range of religious and spiritual beliefs and practices that grew rapidly in the west during the 1970s. The word Pergamos goes to the primary word pergos, meaning tower, as in the tower of Babel, meaning confusion, the spirit of which was carried over into the new age belief, causing them to fall prey to this new, yet old, religious belief, and to commit fornication. Fornication is intercourse, and spiritual intercourse is communication. When we communicate these feel-good beliefs, which teach that we are already spirit and perfect, we just have to remember it, or that we can change our reality by changing our thoughts, we are committing spiritual fornication. The seeds being sown through this spiritual intercourse are not of the holy kind, as they do not produce spiritual life. They prevent it! Those who overcome any of the many false new age beliefs that are out there, eat of the hidden manna, eating of the bread from heaven, the word bread meaning to overcome.
“And unto the angel of the church in THYATIRA write; These things saith the Son of God… I know thy works… Nothwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols… Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death: and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you non other burden. But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. 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 my Father. And I will give him the morning star.” Revelation 2:18-28
Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, king of Israel. A king symbolizes a spirit, and Israel symbolizes the Mind. It was Jezebel and her husband that instituted the worship of Baal, god of the gods, symbolizing the many false beliefs man gives reverence to. It is the king of Israel, the spirit of the Mind, that empowers these beliefs, which have no power to heal or purify the heart. The spirit of the Mind is the ego, which like confusion, can be attributed to Paul. Thyatira is an extension of the third church, having grown out of the New Age movement. I would call this new movement one of Science and the Mind, which emerged between the 90s and the new millennium. It took new scientific ideas of the revolution that occurred in the late seventeenth to eighteenth century, and combined them with elements of the Christian religion of the west and elements of the traditions of the east, producing an amalgamated belief, like that of Christianity, the three main religions of which are symbolized by the gold, silver, and brass in the image associated with the king of Babylon, symbolizing the spirit of confusion.
Amalgamated: combined from two or more entities into one specific entity whilst retaining the defining characteristics of the original source.
Like the new age belief before it, which teaches that we are already in a spiritually perfect state, we just have to remember it, this new scientific belief teaches that the Mind is the way to reach spiritual perfection or enlightenment, incorporating the scriptures to support the belief. The twelve tribes become the twelve cranial nerves. Everything is possible through the power of the Mind. The original source of this belief is the same as the three that came before it— Paul, who teaches salvation through the power of the Mind. Just believe in Jesus and you’re saved. The Heart never enters the equation. The nations are spiritual/internal nations, which we overcome by keeping (obeying) the spiritual works outlined in these churches. The rod of iron symbolizes the power of the holy spirit, which delivers the truth through which the vessels of a potter, symbolizing the false beliefs we formed throughout our life, are destroyed. The morning star is the name given to the sun, homonym for son, symbolizing truth.
“And unto the angel of the church in SARDIS write … I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent… 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…” Revelation 3:1-5
The fifth church. Jesus came in the fifth. In the beginning of the fifth-thousandth year. And what he taught was purification or salvation through the power of the Heart, by way of a spiritual judgment— the spiritual meaning of the twelve tribes. Jesus’ focus was on the condition and healing of the Heart, as was David’s, a man after God’s own Heart (1 Samuel 13:14). They have a name when they reach Sardis, which is truth, having overcome the iniquity associated with the false religious belief, which they are now dead to, receiving a degree of spiritual life. They need to be watchful, looking out for the false personal or self beliefs that are ready to die, being strong in their determination to overcome them. The white raiment, which they receive by overcoming these false beliefs, symbolizes their spiritual wedding garment, evidence that they have been compliant with God’s purification process. By replacing the false word that has been inscribed upon the tablets of their heart with the word of truth, they receive spiritual life, their names written in the book of life.
“And unto the angel of the church in PHILADELPHIA write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David… 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… hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 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.” Revelation 3:7-12
We are made holy through God’s spirit, and made true through God’s word, which we receive by doing the works of overcoming the false beliefs we accepted in our heart throughout our life. The key of David is Love, the meaning of the word David. Love of truth. Desire directed toward seeking truth opens the door to our heart, bringing the light of truth that exposes the darkness formed by the many lies we spoke to ourselves in our mind. The crown symbolizes the power and authority that comes with receiving the word or seed of truth in that spiritual temple or earth called the heart, through which one becomes a pillar of righteousness. These six churches represent the six days of spiritual works that result in the creation of a new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem, symbolizing the new peaceful state we enter through the new name, symbolizing the new truth we have received.
“And unto the angel of the church of LAODICIANS write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; … 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: 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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:14-18
The message of the angel of the seventh church is for those that have skipped over the works of the six churches. They are at the beginning of the creation of God, having six days of works to perform, through which they too will form a new heaven and earth from within. What they think they are in the delusion of their mind, is not what they are in the reality of their heart. The fire symbolizes the spiritual or internal judgment (Matthew 19:28), through which their heart will be made pure, the gold symbolizing purity. They will become spiritually rich— rich in spirit and in truth. The white raiment symbolizes the spiritual wedding garment one receives through the completion of his spiritual works. The eyesalve is truth, which through the power of the holy spirit, enables us to see our life, which is trans-formed through the light of truth.
Written by Sandra L. Butler © 2020