Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Before I begin this long interpretation of John’s Apocalypse, detailing the meaning of “the seven churches,” let me first say that Christianity is not a part-time job or a club with membership requiring very little work. It is an all enveloping lifestyle that is love-based and realized through choice and commitment. If your head spins at the thought of what you would do if you had followed Moses out into the wilderness, knowing you had forty years of hardship and strife ahead of you, do you think your biggest problem would be finding things to do to make time pass by quickly? Do you think anything other than the normal hard work of mortal life and a mandatory heavy requirement for religious study would be optional?
The parallel of then and today is the United States of America today is no different than was Egypt back then. Moses did not put any Israelites in chains and drag them off to “freedom.” Likewise, God has not sent anyone to force anyone else to get off their lazy asses and do the hard work of serving God as His Son. Everyone is free to be a slave to sin, which requires minimal effort. If you want to be a slave to God, then stop searching the Internet for some meme writer to put your ideas to work, so you can laze about doing nothing, while calling yourself “Christian.”
I wanted to place that scenario in your mind’s eye before you get deeply into this analysis. In fact, if you are not truly Christian, now is the time to click the back arrow or x out the tab. Plus, when I initially post anything, it is incomplete and full of nits and burs, often far from readable. The Internet parasites are the ones who flock to my posts, I imagine to copy and reproduce as something to sell. They rarely come back after something has been edited carefully. So, I write to please my God, not anyone who has no spine to strike up a conversation about the meaning of Scripture. That apathy is a sign of the “end of an age,” when “Christianity” will have been reduced to the rubble calling itself a Temple unto the Lord.
C’est la vie.
John wrote in his Apocalypse, beginning chapter two,“Tō angelō tēs en _______ ekklēsias grapson,” which says, “To the angel of this in (fill in the blank) church write.” John repeated those same words seven times, three more times in chapter two and three more times in chapter three. The only exception to those exact words is found in the capitalization of “Tō” being replaced by a lower-case spelling. Each of those lower-case spellings of “tō” is then preceded by a capitalized “Kai.” Thus, in all seven presentations of the message, “to the angel of this in ______ church write,” a degree of importance is stated first, based on the use of capitalization, including the six additions of a capitalized “Kai.”
The word “angelō” is translated as “angel,” but others often translate it as “messenger.” Strong’s writes of this usage: “generally a (supernatural) messenger from God, an angel, conveying news or behests from God to men.” HELPS Word-studies adds the possibility of “delegate” being used, which should conjure up images of Jesus telling his disciples, “I will send you an Advocate” (“Paraklēton”), which was then described as “this Spirit the one of truth” (“to Pneuma tēs alētheias”). [John 14:16] Here, it should be important to see how “angelō” is like “Paraklēton,” with a marked difference between the two words being one is important (via capitalization), while the other is mundane (via the lower-case).
I believe the way to read “angelō” is as “soul,” in the ordinary sense that everyone living has a soul within mortal flesh. It is the soul that is relative to God, as it is given by God at birth (thus His), as an eternal spirit that influences the body of flesh. The soul is thus the root of self-ego; but this inner self is where higher thoughts are received from God – to be accepted and acted upon or rejected, denied and set aside.
To grasp this as truth, one needs to examine what John said in his first chapter. In verse one is said, “having sent to the angel of him, to the servant of him, John.” That says John is himself an “angel,” as a receptive soul that has willingly become a servant of God. The “Revelation of Jesus Christ” (“Apokalypsis Iēsou Christou”) is then God speaking to the “angel John,” who has become reborn via the Holy Spirit that is “Jesus Christ.” “John” is “who testified to the word this of God kai to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (“hos emartyrēsen ton logon tou Theou kai tēn martyrian Iēsou Christou”). Therefore, John was the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh (looking like John), because he received the Christ Spirit, which married his soul to God, making him become “a messenger” (“angelō”) of the Lord.
The letter, as it appears from the translations everyone has read before now, seems to be a command from a floating vision of Jesus, telling John to write to the seven churches of Asia, with the response then being the Apocalypse. Instead of seeing this common view, one needs to realize that John (as Jesus Christ reborn) is himself a representation of “The seven churches” (“Tais hepta ekklēsiais”), with John at that time living in Patmos, as an aged, blind, prisoner of Rome. Patmos is an island that Google describes as “situated off the west coast of Turkey and the continent of Asia.” John was therefore identified as an example of the epitome of what being of the “seven churches” means.
The confusion there is the translation of “ekklēsiais” as “churches.” I believe it is better to see how one man becomes seven, when “churches” is read as “assemblies.” That says John had become an “assemblage of seven” or in possession of “seven congregations” within his being.
The number “seven” is the number that is representative of perfection; the number Paul would list as the ultimate number of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, John was a “messenger” (an “angel”) who knew the truth of what sacrifices needed to be made by one’s soul, in order to reach the place that allows another to become Jesus Christ. This says becoming “Jesus Christ” reborn comes from the perfection of achieving “seven talents” from the Holy Spirit. A “church,” as defined by Jesus, is whenever two or more are gathered in his name, then he would be there; so, “two or three” can be gifts of the Holy Spirit, rather than people, meaning a “church” is an Apostle of Jesus Christ [not a gathering of a group of people who do not have Jesus Christ within their beings].
In that visualization created by translations, one sees John writing greetings to seven imaginary churches. What the Holy Spirit led John to write next states, “kai apo tōn hepta Pneumatōn ha enōpion tou thronou autou.” That literally states, importantly (“kai”), “away from this seven Spirits that in the presence of this power of him.” That identifies what John possessed as being seven (“hepta”) talents of the Holy Spirit (“Pneumatōn“). Each became his face of God (“ha enōpion“) to be worn to the world (Jesus reborn), with his body of flesh having become the “throne” (“tou thronou“) of God, which was the “power of him” (“thronou autou“) that dictated the Apocalypse.
As to the ‘fill in the blank’ parts, where seven different names were stated, John was told by God (as the Christ Mind within John) to write these names: “Ephesō, Smyrnē, Pergamō, Thyateirois, Sardesin, Philadelpheia, Laodikeia.” Before individually naming them in chapters two and three, John named them all in verse eleven of his first chapter. Those names are translated into English as: Ephesus (2:1), Smyrna (2:8), Pergamum (2:12), Thyatira (2:18), Sardis (3:1), Philadelphia (3:7), Laodicea (3:14). Those names mean are not all of Greek origin, thus some of their meanings have been lost to certainty. However, scholars have come to these conclusions as to what these name mean:
Ephesus: Later Place; Place Very Much At The Back; New Town; Land’s End; Boondock.
Smyrna: Myrrh; Bitter (as from mar, marar); Rebellious (as from mara, meri); Gal (as from merera).
Pergamum: Of First Class Courage; Citadel; Capital; Primary (etymology); Utmost (etymology); Married (from pergos-gamos, as pergamos); United By Marriage (from pergos-gamos, as pergamos).
Thyatira: Daughter (by association); Dyers (by association); Purple (by association).
Sardis: Enclosure (from French); Escaping (proposed); Remains (proposed).
Philadelphia: Brotherly Love (literal); Place Of Brotherly Love; Friendly Love (from association).
Laodicea: Place Of People Of Common Fairness; People Ruling (from laos-dike); People Judgments (from laos-dike).
All of the seven names are said to be ancient names of Greek settlements in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). It is important to realize that God did not have John physically write letters to be mailed to those cities (presumably containing Christians that John passed the Holy Spirit onto), because John was told to write a “book” (“grapson ein biblioni”), which were importantly (“kai”) the method by which John could “send the seven churches” (“pempson tais hepta ekklēsiais”) to those named, who (based on a comma mark of separation) were not so divinely inspired.
This means that the voice of God spoke to the presence of Jesus Christ, which was in the flesh of John (his soul merely an auditory witness and penman) and he represented what those named entities were lacking, in their claims to be Christian. For each element of the “hepta Pneumatōn” there is an antithesis “angelou” keeping those who followed that “messenger’s” influence from pleasing God. Therefore, what is commonly called the “seven churches of Asia” should be seen as “seven flocks.” According to what was dictated by the Christ Mind, six were bad shepherds, and only one doing what pleased God. John was then tasked to write his “book” as the voice of the Good Shepherd, for all to measure what character traits true Christians (like John) would find within themselves.
When this is understood, then all who call themselves ‘Christian’ but do not personally know God or Christ, not being another John, not themselves being resurrections of Jesus Christ, then this book is their Apocalypse. Those should determine which named “church” they belong to and see the error of their ways. All of these seven “angels” represent souls that are lost in some way. For whatever good they see themselves as doing, that good will not make up for the evil that comes from self-love and a refusal to fully submit to God and be reborn as His Son.
It is important first to realize that the capitalization of a named church projects the importance of self-importance. The ones named are then to be seen as gods that are blinded to their own faults and flaws. Because the names are associated with places on the earth, the capitalization means they identify more with worldly and material position among humanity, rather than the humility and obedience that is demanded of one in submission to a higher power that is unseen. In this view, the presence of known churches of Christianity can be seen as the targets of the Apocalypse. However, just as one can possess all seven of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one can also possess six stated flaws that reflect all who deny the Holy Spirit. This means the “seven named churches” are character traits of human beings, not institutions or buildings.
The name Ephesus demands one examine verse 2:4 carefully. The normal translation misses the truth, due to missing the placement of a comma mark. The common misconception is God holds against this “church” their having abandoned the love they had first. That is not what was written. Thus, that is not what was meant. Here is the Greek written by John:
“Alla echō kata sou hoti tēn agapēn sou tēn prōtēn , aphēkes .”
Notice how this is two segments of words, with the second being a one-word statement. They literally say, “Except I have against you that this love of you this first , you have divorced.” Here, it is vital to see how what God holds against anyone who calls himself or herself “Christian” is the “love” of self “first,” with God coming second.
Here, it is important to see what John was told to write that was specifically addressing Ephesus in the first verse (2:1), where the repetition of “Tō angelō tēs en Ephesō ekklēsias grapson” is found. There John wrote, “These say this holding fast those seven stars in the right hand of him , this walking in middle of this seven lampstands of this golden .” It is from that position of belief in Jesus as the only one possessing the “seven” talents, which are seen as distant lights in the sky (“stars”), where Jesus sits on a chair next to God. Meanwhile, these ‘Christians’ walk amid the “lampstands” that are not lit. They are simply admired because they are seen as valuable (“adorned with gold”), when it is they who should be lighting the “seven lampstands” with the “seven stars” of Jesus Christ.
When the name Ephesus is realized to mean “Later Place; Place Very Much At The Back; New Town; Land’s End; Boondock,” then this is not the Christian settlement established by Paul (not John). Instead, it is representative of those disciples of Jesus in all places, at all times, who place God and the responsibility of becoming His Son as an afterthought. The name most strongly associated with the Greek roots says “Place Very Much At The Back,” which is where God and Christ are relegated.
The one-word statement, “aphēkes,” is written in the second person plural, aorist tense, which becomes a statement of God to those classified as Ephesus. The second person “you” acts as a statement of being in a close personal relationship with God, close enough to say “you have divorced” from a position of marriage. The root verb is “aphiémi,” which can translate as “send away, release, let go, and permit to depart” [Strong’s] (rather than “to abandon”), but it also bears usage as “cancel, forgive; allow, tolerate; leave, forsake, and divorce.” [Misslebrook.org] As a one-word statement, it draws importance due to a relationship once begun has been”cancelled, permitted to depart, let go, sent away, left, or forsaken.” The element of “divorce” implies a prior marriage, which returns one focus to the “love” that was “first.”
This makes the “love” of the first segment have the meaning of initial attraction to God, with the people actually married to God and receiving His Holy Spirit, only to fall deeper in love with themselves, causing them to cease serving God with all their hearts. Thus, all the positives listed were historical (aorist tense), not current, having given all that up for self-importance.
As for the Smyrna message Jesus Christ had John write what sounds most promising for those calling themselves Christian. This sounds like John is naming the Jews who converted to belief in Jesus as the Messiah, who were thereby outcast, imprisoned, tortured and killed at the hands of Jews who disbelieved. This makes the meaning of the name, as “Bitter” or “Gal,” as the root Hebrew word speaks of both the perfumed oil used to anoint baby Jesus (myrrh) and the “Bitter” herbs that all devout Jews ritually partake during the Passover Seder meals. The maror in that ritual dinner reflects the bitterness of slavery in Egypt, thus the name reflects Christians as the “Rebellious” who have to withstand the condemnations of a world that rejects all who claim religious superiority and only accepts those who fall in line and serve as the world demands.
As the first true Apostles were Jews who were reborn as Jesus Christ – as was John – they all faced persecution from the Jews who ruled over Judaism. Christianity did not become the name of a religion, but a statement of truth: All Christians are resurrections of Jesus in the flesh of others, through a devoted marriage to God. Therefore, the name Smyrna becomes a reflection of the bitterness of life one accepts, not as a slave to the world, but as a slave to God, as his wife AND giving birth to His Son as a result of that union.
Here, it is good to look at the words John was told to write specifically pertaining to Smyrna. The translation commonly read appears to be a (almost braggart) statement about Jesus, which is instead a statement about the Smyrna ‘Christian.’ The words state literally: “These say this first kai this last , who became dead kai came to life .” (“Tade legei ho prōtos kai ho eschatos , hos engeneto nekros kai ezēsen .“)
That must be seen as those identified as Smyrna as being sinner (“first”) before they became disciples (“last”) of Jesus. Then, they sacrificed their self-egos (“became dead”) so they could be reborn as Jesus Christ (“came to life”). That Spiritual transformation was not what was expected, due to all the hardships that come when one is an Apostle of the Lord. That sacrifice must be realized, as without that sacrifice the one named Smyrna would not know of the struggles they would face.
This then forces one to look carefully at the evil that overcomes this group of most devoted disciples. It is seen when John wrote “Mēden phobou ha melleis paschein,” or “Not fear what you are about to suffer.” The capitalization of “Not” places the importance upon how a true Christian is measured, where “Not” becomes the divine judgment that rejects one from the reward of eternal life. Here, the “Not” focuses on the failure to adhere to any or all of the Commandments that become written on the hearts of true Christians [not memorized and optional].
This makes “Not” be pointing to the commandment that says to “The Lord your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear.” (Deuteronomy 6:13, NRSV) Rather than have the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were thrown into a furnace to be burned alive – but lived, unscathed – many ‘Christians’ place much value in worshiping God, but fear letting that worship be known, due to the persecutions that brings. Rather than speak out (as Jesus Christ reborn within their flesh, speaking the Word of God unfettered), these who call themselves Christians fail God by fearing for themselves and those on earth they love [the excuses that seem to allow one to opt out of following commandments]. As such, Smyrna assemblies become frozen with fear and unable to remain fully committed to Yahweh as His brides [regardless of human gender].
When this is seen, the name Smyrna ceases to be a statement of Jews that believe Jesus was the Messiah sent by God (as promised). Instead, it becomes representative of all who fear the persecutions of the world. This becomes synonymous with the parable told by Jesus of the talents (or minas), where the servant given one gift of great value was buried and unused.
This then makes the “synagogue of Satan” be the truth of the “seven churches,” where both “synagōgē” and “ekklēsias” bear the same meaning as places of “assemblage.” Whereas the “seven assemblages” of God that resurrect Jesus Christ within one’s being includes “No fear,” there are equally antithesis elements that make one’s flawed character traits be an “assemblage of Satan.” Simply by fearing those who persecute, one is then serving Satan through fear.
When the common translation of verse 2:10 says, “the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,” the reality of that verse is it says, “is about to cast the devil of you into prison” (from “mellei ballein ho diabolos ex hymōn eis phylakēn”). The “prison” becomes one’s soul trapped within one’s flesh, imprisoned in the worldly realm, not assured of eternal life in heaven. There, the soul then fears bringing harm to its flesh, preferring to bow down to fear (or listen to the “devil” whispers, not God’s, as did Cain). The test of Satan uses fear of persecution to break those who are “Rebellious” of a sinful world and return the bitterness of their slavery, as that which fears the world. One become instead “Rebellious” and “Bitter” towards God.
The focus on weak Christians is then named as Pergamum. The name meaning “Of First Class Courage” speaks of the refusal to deny Jesus as the Christ, even while Antipas was killed in their midst (taken from “kai en tais hēmerais Antipas , ho martys mou , ho pistos mou hos apektanthē par’ hymin, hopou ho Satanas katoikei .“). The depth of these segments of words importantly says (“kai”), “in the days of Antipas , this witness of me , this faithful of me who was put to death beside you , where this Satan is established .” This gives the impression that Pergamum watched as an Apostle named Antipas was murdered beside him; but this is not the whole truth.
The name “Antipas” is a Greek combined word (“anti-pater”) that means “father’s likeness,” while also bearing the symbolic meaning as “strong, hard, and robust.” [Google search, ref. Nordic Names] While that seems to be a character strength, where Pergamum did not fear witnessing a fellow believer of strength being destroyed before them, the set-up verse says plenty (2:13): God knows where they dwell; and, God knows the throne this of Satan is where their hearts are. However, a better indicator comes from verse 2:12, where Pergamum is named in the repeated “To the angel of this in Pergamum assemblies write: These say this possessing this sword this two-edged this swift.” (“Tade legei ho echōn tēn rhomphaian tēn distomon tēn oxeian .“)
This allows one to see how Antipas (“Father’s Likeness”) is not another being named, but a personality character of Pergamum. Because those of this vein of Christianity feel as if they are ‘God on earth,’ they feel empowered to hold the sword of judgment against others. It is then the aspect of Antipas that was once their strength as true Christians that was slain by the double-edge sword of of judgment wielded against others, which instead killed this aspect of themselves. The word “oxeian” can translated as “sharp,” in one usage, but it shows a quickness to use the sword, as the word also states “swift, eager.” This is the flaw Simon Peter displayed when he cut off the ear of the guard who came to arrest Jesus.
The things held against Pergamum are said to be “holding the teachings of Balaam, who would teach Balak” and “holding the teachings of the Nicolaitans.” These names are also statements of important distractions that Pergamum enjoys, as “holding” (from “kratountas“) means more than listening to. The root word “krateó” means, “to be strong, rule,” which is relative to the power of the sword and the name Pergamum being “Of First Class Courage.” This also allows the word to mean “I am strong, mighty, hence: I rule, am master, prevail; I obtain, take hold of; I hold, hold fast.” (Strong’s) Thus, the “teaching” (from “didachēn“) are the lesson of life one was raised to believe, prior to finding Christianity a vehicle of “rule.”
The name Balaam means “Destroyer Of People; Destruction of the People; Confuser Of The People; and/or Swallowing Up The People.” The name Balak means “Devastator; Wasting; Empty.” The name Nicolaitans is also a combined word from Greek (“nico-laos”) meaning Victory of the People. Each name applies as a reflection of Pergamum, with war a common denominator, quite fitting for the statement made about “holding this sword.”
The combined weight of these names says Pergamum is an Empty shell of flesh, whose heart allows Satan to reign emotionlessly, as a watcher of the destruction of all that is good is rampant. It is that emptiness that means redemption can be found by rejecting all these destructive teachings and placing God on the throne of one’s heart. In this way, Pergamum is then the model of all organizations that use Christianity as a means to power, wealth, and influence, where the perfect example was Constantine, who used it to transform a failing Roman Empire into the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the other Catholic Churches of Orthodoxy and the Holy Roman Empire.
In the use of Nicolaitans, this was also found named as a plus in Ephesus, as those of that name hated (as did God and Christ) those who promote Victory of the people. Some say the use of “laos” makes this a statement of the laity, as “lay conquerors” or “conquerors of the lay people.” That strongly suggests a hatred of official churches in Ephesus, such as the Church of Rome, but all other organizational denominations of Christianity. This says the throne of Satan rests in top officials in all organized churches, as they remove the people from their called marriages to God, with Jesus Christ the reborn Son, making a pope of archbishop (et al) become the teachers of destruction to the people. Whereas Ephesus hated such false rulers (fearing them), Pergamum is a supporter of this evil, with many probably acting as servants to a church in some capacity, while proclaiming in Jesus as the Christ. Their devotion is to an organizational structure, while being “Empty” within – not filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
The etymology of this name is uncertain, although a Wikipedia article on the ancient city says King Seleucus I Nicator heard news that his wife had given birth to a daughter, so “he called this city “Thuateira” from Greek θυγάτηρ, θυγατέρα (thugatēr, thugatera), meaning “daughter”, although it is likely that it is an older, Lydian name.” The people of the city of Thyatira were known as dyers, who produced purple dyed fabrics as a product they were known for. Purple is recognized as the color of royalty, due to it being expensive to manufacture, meaning only the wealthy could afford to purchase such material. This can mean the use of the name implies people associated with that trade, although the primary implication should be “Daughter.”
The feminine opposite of a masculine son then becomes a major statement about attachment to the world and its material objects. Rather than being people reborn as “the Son” of God, they are mired in their flesh as daughters. This leads one to see long time exclusion of women from the priesthood, with daughters serving the Church. The “works” of Thyatira are stated as character strengths that are “love,” “faith,” “service,” and “perseverance.” Those same words can also be stated as “benevolence, confidence, ministration, and patience” (all viable alternate translations), where the luster falls away. To read these traits in a lesser light helps explain how each trait falls short of the truth expected of a Christian (one reborn as Jesus Christ). This becomes relative to the “Daughter” complex.
In the opening verse, where “tō angelō tēs en Thyatira ekklēsias grapson” is stated, it follows here that “These say this Son this of God , this holding their mind’s eye of him as flame of trials , kai her feet of him resembling bronze .” The capitalization of “Son” becomes a point of restriction for women, as they are not males; and women are not groomed to become “‘sons,” especially the “Son of God.” Therefore, it is human gender that confuses Thyatira and keeps them focused on the heat of battle to become heard, as they are always forced to bow to Jesus and God, like Mary and the woman at the Pharisee’s house who washed Jesus’ feet with their hair and/or tears.
As a daughter to a king, Thyatira becomes synonymous with “Princess.” The symbolism of a “princess” is perfection, attraction and innocence (according to dream analysis). This then takes on the illusion of being a nun, which can be termed a daughter of the King (God is the King, not Jesus, although Jesus rules over the mind of one’s body as King). Here, chastity prevents consummation of one’s marriage to God, preventing one from giving birth to His Son within. While a nun symbolizes obedience, which can be thought to be an act of love, here obedience represents compliance, rather than a deep emotional commitment that is based on true love. Thus, the aspect of “Daughter” brings forward an immature relationship with God and His Son.
In this section of John’s book, close attention should be paid to the words that state: “you tolerate the woman Jezebel” (“apheis tēn gynaika Iezabel”). This means the name Jezebel must be understood as meaning “Un-Exalted, Un-Husbanded, Without Cohabitation, Unmarried, and Chaste.” The use of the word “apheis” as “you tolerate” is reminiscent of the use of “bastasai” in verse 2:2, addressing Ephesus), where tolerance is associated with evil (Ephesus did not tolerate evil). Thus, the tolerance here says Thyatira is tolerant to the femininity of the flesh (“gynaika” as meaning “wife” of the world … Satan), unable to bring about the masculinity of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this love of self, as the Daughter, keeps one from marrying God [one’s soul merged with the Holy Spirit of God, yielding the Christ Mind in a resurrected Jesus of flesh]; and that keeps one from truly being Christian, regardless of what character strength one possesses.
This name is another that has no known meaning, although there is some thought that it means “prince of joy.” One website that has presented possible interpretations of the seven names says, “We relied on Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s scholarship which supports “escaping.” [Verse By Verse Ministry] Since Sardis had suffered the effects of a great earthquake (17 A.D.), which was well before Jesus’ ministry, Paul’s ministry, or John’s Apocalypse, there is some thought to the name meaning “Remains,” as akin to the dry bones God asked Ezekiel, “Can these dry bones live?” Still, Sardis was also had the reputation as a place where the purest gold and silver could be processed, which made Rome allow its rebuilding from the earthquake’s devastation, without taxation for that reason, be a character element coming from that historical place.
A key aspect of Sardis is stated when Jesus Christ spoke through John, “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead.” (“Oida sou ta erga , hoti onoma echeis hoti zēs , kai nekros ei .“) The presence of “kai” before “nekros,” meaning “dead, lifeless, subject to death, mortal,” makes this an important statement that “life” (“zēs“) is not what Sardis understands. The word “ei” is a statement of the existence of Sardis, as a second person singular form of the verb “eimi,” meaning “I am, I exist” (“you are, you exist”). Contrary to the evaluation of Smyrna, who “became dead kai came to life,” Sardis proclaims possession of eternal life, while being dead to God, a mere mortal destined to die.
This totally supports the concept of the valley of dry bones, which were the Israelites who had been prophesied to, so sinews and flesh joined with the bones, but they still did not have the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit within one, one is dead to eternal life. Thus, by saying one is “alive,” one is calling oneself Christian when one is not.
Again, returning to the first verse (3:1), following “tō angelō tēs en Sardis ekklēsias grapson,” one finds written “Tade legei ho echōn ta hepta Pneumata tou Theou , kai tous hepta asteras .” This literally translates to state, “These say this possessing the seven Spirits of God , kai those seven stars .” That is a statement of Sardis saying it holds the power of the seven talents of the Holy Spirit, but the reality is strongly stated (“kai“) as what it holds are witches talents, as a seven-pointed star (a heptagram) is representative of all the wisdom associated with mystical arts and practices. These were talents possessed by priests of the Tabernacle (Levites), who were guided by God in their use. However, Sardis claims to possess the secrets of eternal life without God’s assistance, thus eternal life being null and void.
Here, the aspect of white robes is stated, which has nothing to do with clerical attire. A “robe” is from “himatia,” which is a “long flowing outer garment, tunic, or robe.” The aspect of cleanliness and purity are the point of “robes,” where there are some named Sardis that have not “soiled” themselves (from “emolynan”). Some people call these “white witches,” who are people who “practices magic for altruistic purposes.” The majority of witches wear black robes (much like the clerical vestments worn by Christian priests), but ceremonial robes come in a variety of colors, based on the purpose of rituals (much like the different colors of vestments worn during changing Christian liturgical seasons).
The flesh has to be seen as the “robe” of the soul. The soul is eternal, as it never dies; but the flesh will always die, causing a tarnished soul to return to the material realm via reincarnation. Because Sardis is “dead,” it represents all whose souls face reincarnation that should be seen as an admission of failing to serve God. This means the “robe” controls the soul, rather than the soul (with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, as His Son reborn) choosing the path of righteousness.
The word “molunó” means “stain, defile, soil, pollute, make dirty or mucky,” which is used in Scripture to describe one “becoming spiritually besmirched” (HELPS Word-studies). Thus, when Jesus Christ said, “If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes” (verse 3:5a, NRSV), the focus is on one’s soul submitting one’s flesh to the Lord. This makes the point of Sardis be that without God’s help there is absolutely no way to walk righteously, wearing the flesh of purity.
Here is stated the one true Christian in the name Philadelphia – Brotherly Love. The name is a combination of “Phileo+adelphos,” with “Love brothers” being a more accurate translation, as “Phileo” is capitalized and “adelphia” is the plural number as “brothers.” From this name, which only appears in The Apocalypse (2 times), one should not become sidetracked because Philadelphia is a major city in the United States of America, known as “the city of brotherly love,” with that name having known Biblical association. To see “Philadelphia” as a place in Asia Minor known as”the city of him who loves his brother” (from the Wikipedia article entitled “Alaşehir”), there is nothing in the name that indicates any kind of place. Thus, the capitalization should be seen as God’s “Love” having been merged with the souls of devoted servants, who all became related as “brothers,” from having been reborn as the Son of God.
In the intro verse, following “tō angelō tēs en Philadelphia ekklēsias grapson,” is stated, “Tade legei ho hagios , ho alēthinos , ho echōn tēn klein Dauid , ho anoigōn kai oudeis kleisei , kleiōn kai oudeis anoigei .” This literally translates to say, “These say this holy this true , this possessing the key of David , this spoken freely kai no one will shut up , no one breaks .”
Simply from reading those segments and noticing the break points and emphasis indicators, Philadelphia speaks that which has been “set apart by God.” That spoke is the “truth.” By “possessing the key of David,” they are in control of how they respond righteously.” This means the Holy Spirit “freely” flows through Philadelphia and “no one can shut up” those words spoken. When the final segment says “no one breaks,” the failure of David in his older years is not an experience of Philadelphia. This means Jesus Christ is with Philadelphia, so Philadelphia is the Son of God (regardless of human gender).
The stating of the name David means its meaning is important as an identifier of Philadelphia. The name commonly is said to mean “Beloved.” Still, the absence of vowels in Hebrew means the same consonants can make the name also mean “Weak, Flowing,” which means the use of “key” is what determines which David is present. Old David became the Weak and Flowing entity that failed God and himself. Young David, up until his waywardness befell him, was a weak child that had the strength of God freely flowing at his disposal, due to his unwavering love and commitment. It is this young David that Philadelphia possesses. However, John’s book says, “you have kept the word of patient endurance of [the Christ],” with Philadelphia told “to hold fast to what you have , so no one may take the crown of you.” Therefore, the “key of David” is to not give in to one’s weaknesses, which Satan will send temptations intended to play one one’s weaknesses and emotions (flows).
Everything stated in this address to Philadelphia is positive and good, unlike that mix of good and bad, positives and negatives stated to the other names. Here, when Jesus Christ said, “I know your works” (where the capitalized “Oida” is personal knowledge of God, relative to one’s soul and its deeds of the flesh), Philadelphia was told “dedōka enōpion sou thyran ēneōgmenēn ,” which can translate literally to say, “I have set in the presence of you an opportunity having been spoken freely”.
The word “enōpion” means “in sight of, before,” by definition, but bears the meaning in usage as “before the face of, in the presence of, in the eyes of.” (Strong’s) This can be interpreted as Philadelphia being given the face of God to wear to the world. That becomes an “opportunity” taken, where “thyran” bears that meaning, while also meaning (in another sense) “a door.” This is the proverbial advice, “when opportunity knocks, open the door.” It is also how Jesus said, “knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7c) Thus, “ēneōgmenēn” is the past act of “having been opened,” with the word once again seen to bear the meaning of “having been spoken freely.” that explains the “opportunity” as being that of an Apostle to God, being reborn as His Son Jesus Christ.
The statement began continues, where it is stated that a human being alone is too “weak” to “open the door” of prophecy. With the strength of God and Christ within Philadelphia, those who claim to be “Jews” (read also as “Christians”), will be determined liars, who worship at the “synagogue of Satan” (also read as “gatherings” and “assemblies,” as “churches”), who persecute true Christians. Jesus Christ wrote through John, “hēxousin kai proskynēsousin enōpion tōn podōn sou , kai gnōsin hoti egō ēgapēsa se .” This translates literally to say, “they will come kai will worship in the presence of this feet of you , kai they shall know because I have loved you .” This then sums up the other six names as those who bow to the “feet” of God while condemning Philadelphia as beneath them. They do not wear the face of God to the world, so Jesus Christ never become the “I” (from “egō“) of them. Therefore, none of the other truly “love” God.
The final name of seven begins with the standard repetition of “tō angelō tēs en Laodicea ekklēsias grapson,” but her what follows is: “Tade legei ho Amēn , ho martys ho pistos kai ho alēthinos , hē archē tēs ktiseōs tou Theou .” That becomes four segments that can translate as saying, “These say this Most Assuredly , this hearsay witness this believing kai this true , this foremost the ordinance this of God .”
Here, the capitalization of “Amēn” makes it an important statement of what Laodicea says it believes “Most Assuredly,” where the word (in lower-case) states what is believed “verily” and “truely,” often paraphrased as “so be it.” (Strong’s) This becomes a character trait that “Most Assuredly” reflects the arrogance of Laodicea. Where the Greek word “martys” is the root for the English word “martyr,” as it means someone who has died as a “witness” for Jesus Christ. However, the meaning also state “eye- or ear-witness,” such that “hearsay” becomes the testimony of those who heard about Jesus Christ, rather than becoming the Son of God reborn; and that is stated to be the measure of these “believing,” rather than those of true faith from personal experience.
The importance that follows this line of character (the insertion of “kai” without a comma break) is what the people of Laodicea say they believe is indeed “true,” but they fail to act “genuinely” (viable alternative inference from “alēthinos“) as “the witness the faith,” projecting themselves as “the truth.” Following the comma mark of separation, the use of “archē” must be read as meaning “plur: in a quasi-personal sense, almost: rulers, magistrates,” where Laodicea puts on the airs of faith, in order to gain control over others. Thus, the use of “ktiseōs,” as a stand-alone word of meaning, states an “an institution, ordinance,” that is relative to “God,” projecting the power of Laodicea to be representative “of God,: like they believe they have been anointed His designated keepers of those “believing” in God.
Of this name, the meaning most relevant becomes “People Ruling,” where combined Greek is “Laos-dike.” The capitalization of “Laos” means a better translation is “Common people,” which is “as opposed to leaders or priests.” (Wiktionary) The Greek word “dikē” means “custom,” such that the Greek goddess Dike (or Dice) was said to be “the goddess of justice and the spirit of moral order and fair judgement based on immemorial custom, in the sense of socially enforced norms and conventional rules.” Therefore, Laodicea should be read as the name for those who mutate Holy Law into common laws by which the people of nations are led, making them politicians and social philosophers more than servants of God.
John wrote the character of Laodicea was “you are neither cold nor hot,” which leads to Jesus Christ saying, “because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” The allusions to temperature and the mouth make them relative to liquids, which symbolize human emotions. To spit Laodicea out says that God seeks strength in emotions in his servants, where “hot” (from “zestos”) means “fervent.” The word “cold” (from “psychros”) relates to “cold-hearted,” but is synonymous with Jesus having said “whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [Matthew 10:42] The same word is translated there as “cold [water],” with water being one of the four elements of the world, symbolizing the emotions of human beings. Thus, “lukewarm” (from “chliaros”) means one is “tepid” about one’s religious being, thus lacking true commitment. Here, a Christian is simply going through the motions, with the mind on other things.
It is important to grasp that Jesus Christ is not drinking Laodicea. A true Christian is a soul merged with the Holy Spirit of God, which brings forth the resurrection of Jesus Christ within one’s being. An Apostle speaks what God wants, through the mind of Christ; but Laodicea has angered God and His Son by the words “These say,” which have no depth of emotions (like they can only read words printed on the pages of books, without any ability to interpret them). The word “emesai” is translated as “to spit,” but in reality it means “to vomit.” That feeling of illness is not felt by Jesus Christ, as it is an assessment of what Laodicea says, while saying it speaks for Jesus Christ. It spews vomit in the name of Jesus Christ, which pretends to be “the mouth of me.” The word “stomatos” translates as “mouth,” but a deeper translation is “eloquence of speech,” which means political talk – all words saying nothing (lukewarm as neither true or false, just ).
Verse 3:17 is the place where Laodicea is most strongly exposed as a failure to God. Here, Jesus Christ had John write, “Hoti legeis hoti , Plousios eimi , kai peploutēka , kai ouden chreian echō . kai ouk oidas hoti sy ei ho talaipōros , kai eleeinos , kai ptōchos , kai typhlos , kai gymnos .” Before even attempting to translate the possibilities of what this says, it is important to realize this is nine segments of words, with two period marks. Of the nine segments, six are preceded by the word “kai,” showing an important segment follows. Of those, five are one-word statements identified as important character traits. Finally, but not last, is the presence of two capitalized words – “Hoti” and “Plousios” – which bring a level of importance in those words that begin the only two segments without an introduction by “kai.”
A literal translation can now be seen as stating the following (listed):
“Fact you say that” – “Hoti” is translated as “Fact,” rather than “Because,” as a way of Jesus Christ speaking the truth through John. It can also translate as “that” (which the second “hoti” is), which would importantly reflect back on what was said prior, about what Laodicea says that is “vomit” to Jesus Christ, no matter how eloquently that “spit up” comes out.
“Mammon I am” – This says Laodicea claims “Plousios” as the ego identity. “Plousios” translates as “Rich” or “Wealth,” but the word becomes synonymous with the Greek god Hades (“Ploútōn“), who was the Roman god “Pluto.” The Greeks hated “Ploútōn,” whereas the Romans revered him, because the realm of the underworld was where valuable ores were mined, from which great “Wealth” came. Thus, “eimi” says “I am, I exist,” as Laodicea identifying with Satan, where Mammon is his god of material riches.
“kai I have grown rich” – Due to Laodicea worshipping the lord of the underworld, it has been rewards with all that it seeks, making it able to say, “I have grown rich” (“peploutēka“). This is an important character flaw.
“kai not at all duty I possess” – The Greek can easily translate to say, “nothing necessity I have,” but the word “chreian” fits the theme of selfishness, as one claiming to be Christian, having “not at all duty” to serve God, because Laodicea can always say, “I have” all my needs met by Satan. This importantly says there is no incentive found in Laodicea to become sacrificial of self-ego and be reborn as Jesus Christ. These four segments complete one train of thought, as a period mark ends this segment.
“kai not do you appreciate because you are this miserable” – Here the word “oidas” is translated as “appreciate,” but it equally means “be aware, behold, consider, perceive, know, and remember.” (Strong’s) I see appreciation of what God offers are the fault here. Thus, “talaipōros” is translated as “miserable,” rather than “distressed, wretched, or afflicted.” (Strong’s) The use of “miserable” means Laodicea is importantly (“kai”) inadequate, thus “suffering” (Wiktionary), which is an assessment of the “poor, ill” (Wiktionary) relationship this name has with God.
“kai contemptibly small” – The importance noted in one word is “pitiable,” which is a loud statement about Laodicea being “contemptibly poor or small.” (Oxford Dictionary) The implication from this one-word statement is reinforcement to the concept of “miserable,” as this word also evokes “miserable, wretched; in great need of mercy (because desperate).” (HELPS Word-studies)
“kai spiritually poor” – This important one-word statement then speaks loudly of Laodicea being quite the opposite of its self-assessment as “Rich” (“Mammon”) and “wealthy,” as nothing of value in the material realm is lasting, making it worthless. The word “ptōchos” means “(of one who crouches and cowers, hence) beggarly, poor” [definitions], as well as “poor, destitute, spiritually poor, either in a good sense (humble devout persons) or bad.” [Strong’s usage] It is this word that Jesus used to describe Lazarus, in his vison of the rich man and this “poor” man of name. Laodicea reflects the unnamed rich man of that story, with the poverty of Lazarus being a recognition of a “humble devout person,” which Laodicea clearly is not. Therefore, Laodicea is importantly without the wealth of the Holy Spirit.
“kai mentally blind” – Here, the importance is an inability to see the truth of oneself. The word “typhlos” means, “blind, physically or mentally,” but the root of the word makes it be a point “to raise a smoke; hence, properly, ‘darkened by smoke.’ (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) This then says that Laodicea is blowing smoke in the eyes of others, while Laodicea is equally blinded by its own smoke. Whereas Jesus alluded to the Prophets who suggested, “You have eyes but you cannot see,” the aspect of physical eyes is not the point. Blindness was considered a sin by the Jews, causing them to forbid the blind from entering the Temple and the synagogues; but the reality is the Pharisees, Sadducees and all those who made that interpretation of sin were mentally blind the sin being upon those who read Scripture without the All-Seeing Eye of God leading their understanding. Thus, Laodicea was not one with God.
“kai poorly clothed” – The importance here leads one to read “gymnos” as meaning “naked,” but that translation can only work if one realizes that nakedness is one’s soul without a merger with the Holy Spirit, therefore “open and laid bare” as oneself facing the world. The greater importance comes from knowing this absence of God, where Laodicea cannot see the truth of God, and the previous statements about “a few in Sardis” that “will be clothed in garments white” (“peribaleitai en himatiois leukois“). That presumed Sardis walked with soiled robes that were the sins of the flesh projected to the world. Laodicea can now be seen as equally “poorly clothed,” as its soul is not only not wearing a covering of “white” light (a halo of righteousness), it wears the lavishness of opulence the pronounces to the world, “There is no righteousness within me.”
This last assessment is confirmed in verse 18, when Jesus Christ addressed this feeling of wealth projected by Laodicea. After saying Laodicea should buy refined gold from God, where the meaning is the value of Scripture and the reward of eternal life, Jesus Christ had John wrote this: “”kai himatia leuka hina peribalē ,” which says, “kai garments white so that you may be clothed.” The meaning is Laodicea is the most sinful of all proclaiming to be Christian.
Near-miss Christians Today
As a summary of the different types or classifications of Christians, identified by John through Jesus Christ, it is worthwhile to review those character traits with people commonly identifying as Christians today. Due to the state of the world today, anyone who denies Christians are not the cause of this present state are in denial. Christians failing God and Christ are as much part of the cause of this demise as are other sinners, if not bearing more responsibility. A major reason is Christianity has fallen under the spells of false shepherds and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Therefore, it is important to see if you can identify yourself (or others) in the review that follows.
Ephesus – Formerly married to God, perhaps as a child bride, as one raised in a church setting. Did all the ‘Christian things’ until the excitement of God and Jesus wore off. Then one fell out of love with Christianity and is too much in love with self-ego to seriously consider ever going back to the ‘ex.’
Smyrna – This is a closet ‘Christian,’ one who does all the right things on Sundays but is afraid to let that religion come out at work or play. This can even be someone who is married to a partner that is firmly not Christian and would not accept a spouse setting religious expectations. The Smyrna Christian probably prays for miracles, too afraid to make miracles happen themselves (with God’s help).
Pergamum – If this ‘Christian’ is not a minister or priest, it is someone who works for a seminary or theological school, where it is only a job that demands the right face. This one knows very little Scripture, but enjoys the scholastic writings of those who make the tour circuit and love to wine and dine while talking religion. He or she listens to the arguments made by those who bring political issues into the church setting, preaching and believing that “if Jesus were here he would bless any number of forbidden acts, simply because these modern times are so different from those of antiquity.”
Thyatira – These ‘Christians’ are those who see the churches as battlegrounds for women’s rights. This does not make one necessarily a woman, but it certainly includes men who enter the ministry with no plans of ever marrying. This type of ‘Christian’ sees the need for mothering the sins of the people, with same sex marriage something that a mother could not turn on her child over. This feminine bend in men can lead to the excesses that have become uncontrolled abuse, especially of male children.
Laodicea – These are the business men and women that are too busy to put much time or effort into any religion. They call themselves ‘Christian’ simply because they get more out of associations with others calling themselves ‘Christian’ than with other groups of people. If forced to choose to be considered Christian, if that choice would bring them pain of any kind, they would certainly opt out.
The Hope for Christians Today
Philadelphia – These are the ones who keep the light of Christianity alit and alive, as long as they remain vigilant, patient, and enduring in the Spirit.
R. T. Tippett