THE SEVEN CHURCHES IN ASIA

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THE SEVEN CHURCHES mentioned in the beginning of 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, and to believe is to obey; to 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 mainstream Christian religions have been 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 becoming 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. Jesus is referring to 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 spiritual 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, or 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 of the false religious belief, the stumblingblock that was cast before the children of Israel; the children being those that are unskilled in the spiritual word or works of God, causing them to commit 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, through which one receives 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, which has been 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; the gods symbolizing the many false beliefs man gives reverence to.  It is the king of Israel or 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, using the content of the scriptures to support the belief, such as the twelve tribes representing 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, which is the mind-doctrine of Paul.  The nations are spiritual or internal nations, to be ruled with a rod of iron, symbolizing the power of the holy spirit. Like the vessels of a potter, symbolizing the false beliefs we have formed from within, they are destroyed by keeping the spiritual works unto the end, through which we receive the morning star, the name given to the sun, 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; through a spiritual judgment of what the twelve tribes of Israel represent according to Jesus and the Torah.  Jesus’ focus was on the condition and healing of the Heart, as was David’s, who was 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 as they begin to look for their false self beliefs, which 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 our six days of spiritual works, which result in the creation of a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1), symbolizing a new mind and a new heart, the new Jerusalem, symbolizing the new peaceful state we enter through a new truth, which is synonymous with the “new name.”

“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, through which they will become spiritual 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, gives us the ability to see our life, which is transformed through the light of truth. 

Written by Sandra L. Butler © 2020

THE TEN VIRGINS

Ten Virgins

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”  Matthew 25:1

The kingdom of heaven symbolizes the realm of the mind. It is likened unto ten virgins because the number ten is associated with the mind, which enters a virgin state through its purification.  The quieting of the mind is an eastern practice that aids in the purification of the mind, which is encoded in both the Old and New Testament.  Moses instructs the children of Israel, chosen to represent us the people, to stand still (Exodus 14:13), the word still meaning be silent, quiet self.  In the book of Revelation, we learn that the seventh seal is opened through silence in heaven, which symbolizes the mind. Through silence in the mind the seventh chakra is opened, connecting us to the divine power of the heart.  When we quiet our mind, following Moses’ instruction, we give power to what Moses symbolizes, which is the holy Spirit.  And as the Spirit of God moved upon the waters in the Creation, and upon the waters of the Red Sea, the holy spirit, if not resisted, will move upon the spiritual waters, symbolizing the thoughts of the mind, influencing the thoughts of our mind, causing us to think differently, the deeper spiritual meaning of the word, repentance.  John baptized unto repentance; a baptism that illustrated the purification of the mind, which the ten virgins symbolize.  Jesus gives the instruction through his cleaning of the cup and platter parable, the cup symbolizing the mind.

Israel, like heaven, symbolizes the Mind, which consisted of ten tribes, descending from the first ten sons of Jacob; those born of Leah and the bondmaids, symbolizing flesh and bondage. It is through the judging of these ten tribes that are mind is made pure, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord, as the ten virgins were prepared to meet the bridegroom, and as Esther was prepared to meet the king through a purification process “…for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours…” Esther 2:12.  The oil symbolizes the anointing; the spiritual anointing through which the mind and the heart are made pure.  The word myrrh means distillation, the purification of water, which like the sea, symbolizes the thoughts of our mind.   “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” Matthew 25:1.  The kingdom of heaven symbolizes the realm of the mind.  The lamps symbolize the hearts of those that have purified their minds and those that think they have purified their minds. “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:” Matthew 25:2,3.  This is where we see what separates the wise virgins from the foolish virgins.  The five wise had oil in their lamps, symbolizing the anointing that is within their hearts.  The five foolish virgins represent those that think they have been made pure, but having no oil, being without the anointing, have been deceived.  “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Matthew 25:4.  The five wise are those that have not been deceived by a false doctrine, which would be any doctrine or belief that teaches purification of the mind through any other way than what Jesus taught, which is through the heart by way of the spiritual oil or anointing of the heart.  The mind does not have the power to bring us into the pure spiritual state symbolized by the virgin.  We are not made pure by thinking positive thoughts, or by repeating some mantra.  We can only be made pure through the spiritual anointing or christ power of the heart, the oil that the five foolish are lacking.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept… (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day…” Matthew 25:5.  The bridegroom, symbolizing spiritual truth, has been delayed for more than fifteen hundred years due to religious iniquity; the spiritual veil that has rendered the spiritual mind unconscious, possessed by the spirit of slumber.  “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt… And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”   Daniel 12:2,3.   The dust of the earth symbolizes the spiritual inactivity of the heart; the spiritual power of the heart still lying dormant.  But some will awaken out of this dormant state and begin their heart-purification process.  They are the wise, having oil in their lamps.  “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: … but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”  Matthew 25:6-9.  Midnight. The twelfth hour, the number twelve representing judgment. Those who are purifying themselves through God’s spiritual judgment (Matthew 19:28) have entered the bedchamber, where the spiritual seed of spiritual truth is being sown.  “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”  Matthew 25:10.  Marriage is intercourse; a spiritual intercourse through which the holy seed or word of truth is sown in our heart.  The door of the bedchamber is open to those that are believing, obeying, or putting action to the spiritual works outlined in the churches in the book of Revelation, and closed to those that are not.  “And to 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, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door…”   Revelation 3:7,8.  The door is open to those who are purifying themselves through the spiritual works of God’s Word.  “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”  Matthew 25:11.  These, believing the iniquity they have been taught through the church, think they have purified themselves, but they have climbed up some other way.  The word “know,” or “knew,” is intercourseAdam knew Eve and she conceived.  God’s holy seed cannot and will not pass through the veil of religious iniquity.  “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Matthew 7:23.

Written by Sandra L. Butler © 2008

FAITH: beginning and end

OpenBible2“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

In the definition of faith, is the beginning of faith (things hoped for, things not seen) and the end of faith (the substance, the evidence).  The beginning of faith is an analogy to the beginning of Creation.  God created heaven and earth in His mind, but there was no substance or evidence of His creation, no actualization, the earth was yet without form.  For God’s thought or idea of creation to become substance or matter would take God’s word, the works that brought His creation into existence.  Faith, like creation, requires works. There are works associated with the beginning of faith and there are works associated with the end of faith. We are given a number of examples of the works associated with the beginning of faith in the book of Hebrews, each one having to do with external salvation, which started with a thought. Noah, believing in his mind that a flood was coming began the works of building an ark.  Just believing something in our mind does not make it a reality.  Christians believe in the Son, which is the beginning of faith. And many still believe Jesus will return, which also falls under the beginning of faith, as there no evidence to support this belief.  They have been taught to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to accept him into their heart as their personal savior, a level of faith that, by itself, has no power, as was spoken by James, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:26.  As there could be no creation without works, there can be no salvation without works, the two allegorical. As it took works to bring God’s physical creation into existence, it takes works to bring our spiritual creation into existence, through which we receive internal salvation, which is the end of faith, as was spoken by Peter, “Receiving the end of your faitheven the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9.

The carnal works of the law, a figure or type-and-shadow of the spiritual works, could not perfect them that did the service, as we see in Hebrews 9:9,10, but which were to be kept until the spiritual works could be completed, until  “the time of reformation,” when we form a new heaven and earth, through which our “first heaven and earth” passes away (Revelation 21:1). “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” Matthew 5:18, referring to this new spiritual heaven and earth.  Jesus said he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, but it is not Jesus the person that fulfils or completes the law, but what Jesus personified, which is the word; the works of creation.  “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  John 1:3.   All things are made by a seed, and the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11); the works through which the creation was made, which is the end of faith as our works have been completed, made perfect.  To bring our new creation into existence is going to take works, which is synonymous with the son, as is written in the book of John, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works…”  The works of the Father are the works of creation, which is why Jesus, the seed or word of God, was with God in the beginning, through which the physical creation was made. Our spiritual works of creation are found in the beginning and end of the book of Genesis, which means creation. The beginning of Genesis gives us an overview of the creation process, the end of Genesis, where Jacob tells his twelve sons what will befall them in the end of days, providing the details of this creation or salvation process.

Jesus does not care if we believe in him, which falls under the beginning of faith.  He wants us to believe the works, the word believe meaning to obey or put action to. These are the works that perfect our faith, completing it, which is the end of faith. Salvation, like creation, requires works. It took God’s Spirit and word to bring His creation into existence.  It takes faith and works to make our salvation a reality. As there were six days of works in the physical creation of heaven and earth (not to be taken literally), there are six metaphorical days of spiritual works in the creation of our spiritual heaven and earth, through which we receive true salvation.  These works are found in the first six churches in the book of Revelation. The message of the seventh church is for those that have skipped over these six days of works.  What they think they are in their mind is not what they are in their heart, says Jesus.  They are lukewarm, not on fire for God, which they would demonstrate by doing these spiritual works. They have been taught to think that Jesus did the works for them by dying on the cross. They have been taught to think that they have received salvation by believing in Jesus, which is only the beginning of faith.  To reach the end of faith will require them to do the works, which Jesus instructs them to do through the message of the seventh church, saying, “I council 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 eyeslave, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  Revelation 3:18,19.  The word repent means to think differently.  Changing the way they have been taught to think about salvation is the beginning of the spiritual works through which they will receive true salvation… “Receiving the end of your faitheven the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9.

Written by Sandra L. Butler © 2000