Bet means house, tent, home or family. It can also mean inside or within. In this Chapter Yeshua, the Man, is in His house of meeting––each of the congregations. He begins the judgment of His own family, within His own house––He is beginning the selection of His bride. Bet is used for the number two.
Yochanan sat there daydreaming for a few minutes - these letters he was about to write are unique in that yes, they are seven letters to seven literal and real congregations in his own time. But Yochanan knew the letters to function at another level––revealing Father God’s overall plan of restoration for His people over the next two thousand years.
Yeshua had shown Yochanan His One Covenant with His people––One Covenant He has continually built upon throughout history. This One Covenant has several different layers of understanding, or aspects.
The seven letters to the congregations are a part of those aspects, and in each of them Yeshua introduces Himself a different way. Yochanan took note that there were also seven different rewards for the Overcomers within these letters.
Yochanan knew these letters to represent all of mankind as a whole, as they were love letters from Yeshua––of concern, correction and encouragement to His bride.
Hebrew is a multi-layered language, so Yochanan knew those who really studied the Hebrew words would find Yeshua’s true message in these letters. Coming out of his daydream, Yochanan dipped his writing tool in the cup of charcoal ink again, and continued on with the writing of the letters:
“To the Shaliach of the Messianic congregation in Ephesus, describe in writing: ‘Here is the message from the One who holds the seven stars in His Right Hand and walks in the midst of the seven golden menorahs: “I know your works, and your toil, and your patience, and how you cannot bear evil. You tested those who call themselves shaliachim but are not––and you found them to be liars. You are persevering, and you have endured for My sake without growing weary.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, repent and turn from this sin, and do the works you did before you fell. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place - if you do not repent from your sin! But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans do––which I also hate. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic congregations. To him who overcomes I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of God’s Paradise.’”
Yochanan put down his writing tool again, laying it to the side of his papyrus, which was on his flat tablet that he had set on the rock beside him. He stood up, raised his arms over his head and stretched from side to side.
He thought about what he had just written. His beloved Messianic congregation at Ephesus had fallen away from their first love––the love of Messiah! Yochanan grieved in his heart. They had gotten all wound up in the doing of works, thinking that would be enough. They had lost sight of the Kingdom––their focus straying so far from Messiah, so He had taken His Spirit (menorah) out of their congregation. Yet the Lord had commended them on their hatred of the Nicolaitans, which was good.
Because of the shaliach’s loss of focus on Messiah, his congregation had also lost their focus. They were more concerned with what the Lord could do for them, than what they could do for the Lord.
The Shaliach was focused on himself, never giving enough attention to what he would say to the congregation, and tolerating the self-involved Torah studies his congregation had begun to become engaged in, wandering dangerously close to the traditions of men that the Pharisees were involved in. They needed to get their focus off of themselves, and back on Messiah! But now the Lord was giving them time to repent and come back to Him. The Shaliach of the Ephesus congregation would be the first to receive this letter. Then he was supposed to read the letter to his congregation.
Yochanan needed to walk around a bit and make sure he had things straight in his mind before he continued writing. He began praying, first in the Spirit, and then in Hebrew to ask the Lord for guidance and remembrance of the things the Lord had shown him. A part of him wanted to hurry because the congregations needed to hear these things, but he also didn’t want to leave anything out.
He had only gotten a few feet outside the cave when he suddenly stopped and yelled in delight! It was now all coming back to him, he could remember it so clearly as if it was unfolding right before him. Yochanan hurried back into the mine and sat down––surprisingly fast for a man in his nineties! He situated his tablet and papyrus, dipped his writing tool in the ink once again, and continued writing:
“To the Shaliach of the Messianic congregation in Smyrna, describe in writing: ‘Here is the message from the Alef and the Tav, the First and the Last, The Word of God, He who died and came alive again: “I know your deeds: that you are suffering, and in lack during this time. But you are rich (and clothed in white garments). And I know the scorn of those who say they are Jews but are not––on the contrary, they are nothing but an assembly of the adversary! Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Behold! The adversary is going to cause you to be in prison, and you will be tested and will face a distressful ordeal for the ten days. Remain faithful, even to the point of death; and I will give you life as your crown.
Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic congregations. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”’”
Yochanan knew this was actually speaking of a time during the ten days between Yom Teruach and Yom Kippur. The normal ten days of reflection during this time was usually quiet and peaceful, giving them time to reflect and look at their lives over the past year. But it was going to be very different for the Jews at the end of the age. For even though Yeshua would reveal Himself to them on Yom Teruach, the next ten days will be distressful, for during this ten days they will be watched, as if in prison. These ten days will not only be days of self-reflection, they will also be a time when Yeshua will see who are really His––those who just call themselves Jews, or those who really are in their hearts. Those who make it through this fiery trial will be given great reward after Yom Kippur––and for all eternity!
What Yochanan had just written about the first two congregations, had taken him practically all day. He decided to stop for the day and get to sleep early, so he could get an early start in the morning. Yochanan put his tablet, writing tool and cup of charcoal ink, covered, aside on the floor by his sitting-rock, ready for tomorrow’s writing.
He rolled up his papyrus and tied a piece of string around it. Yochanan had also brought blankets so he could sleep in the mine, not because there was no where else to sleep, but because he needed to be alone while he wrote these things down from Messiah, and there were others on the Isle of Patmos with him––those who had also been exiled by Domitian. Yochanan spread out his blankets, lay down on them, and was fast asleep in only a few minutes, for he was exhausted from his writing.
Yochanan’s eyes slowly opened when he realized he was awake. As tired as he was the night before, he was wide awake this morning. Yochanan sat up, ready for his morning prayers, first praying in the Spirit, then his usual prayers for his congregation shaliachim and his extended family, and for the unbelievers - but most of all, for the believers of the congregations he was writing about, for he could feel in his spirit they needed his prayers desperately. The Spirit then led Yochanan outside the abandoned mine for a walk with Him. Yochanan loved these times the best - when he just walked and listened to Messiah. The Spirit of Yeshua refreshed his body, his mind and his spirit as he walked, causing him to be energized. Yochanan knew he would have a full day of writing and was very excited to continue, by the time he had made a full circle in and around the surrounding few trees on the beach during his walk, he was very ready to continue writing. Back at the mine, after about an hour’s walk, Yochanan prepared to write again. With his writing tool ready, his papyrus rolled out and flattened on the tablet on his lap, Yochanan began writing again:
“To the Shaliach of the Messianic congregation in Pergamum, describe in writing: ‘Here is the message from the One who has the sharp double-edged sword: “I know where you are living, there where the adversary’s seat of dwelling is. Yet you are holding onto My name. You did not deny faith in Me even at the time when my faithful witness Antipas was put to death in your town, there where the adversary dwells. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap for the people of Israel, so that they would eat meat sacrificed to idols and commit idolatry. Likewise, you too have people who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore, repent and turn from these sins. Otherwise, I will come to you very soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth.
Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic congregations. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, on which is written a new name that nobody knows except the one receiving it.”’”
Yochanan knew Pergamum to be the capital of Pamphilia, and its literal meaning was tower, as in the tower of Babel, but it also represented an expansive gulf––as in the abyss, the adversary’s dwelling place. He believed this congregation of Pergamum was one who was treading a very thin line, for they tolerated false doctrine, and even encouraged it to the point of causing many to stumble into idolatry. The Nicolaitans taught compromise with the world system, materialism and tolerance of immorality. The Shaliach would be chastised for leading his congregation astray, and hopefully he and his congregation will repent and return to God. Those who do repent will be a part of Yeshua’s bride.
Yochanan stretched, and then prepared to continue writing:
“To the Shaliach of the Messianic congregation in Thyatira, describe in writing: ‘Here is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like burnished brass: “I know your works and your love and your faith and your service and your perseverance. And I know that your last works are more than your first. But I have this against you, that you continue to tolerate that Jezebel woman, the one who claims to be a prophetess, but is teaching and deceiving my servants to commit idolatry, and eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent and turn from her sin, but she does not want to repent of her idolatry.
Behold, I am throwing her, and those who commit idolatry with her, into a sickbed of great torment, unless they repent and turn from her deeds. And I will put her children to death in eternal death! Then all the Messianic congregations will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and that I will give to each of you according to your deeds. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, to those who do not hold to this teaching, who did not know the depths of the adversary, as they were speaking it. I am not placing another burden upon you, nevertheless you must hold fast to what you have until I come.
To Him who overcomes and keeps My works until My goal is reached, I will give him authority over the heathen nations, he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from My Father. I will also give him the morning star. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic congregations.”
Yochanan took a few moments to muse on this part of his vision. For each congregation, or for each of those within the congregations, as these letters were implying, Yeshua began with a description of Himself so all would know who these letters were actually from. And He ended each letter with the reward for those who were Overcomers, or victorious over the apostasy and lies of the adversary. But Yochanan knew there was a deeper meaning of these letters and the five parts of each of them.
‘Yeshua definitely had a divine pattern in this part of his vision,’ Yochanan thought to himself. He first introduced Himself at the beginning of each letter. Secondly, He tells them their strong points, to encourage them. Thirdly, He tells them of their weak points––thus letting them know He is always watching. But as always, Yeshua is giving them a (short) time to repent.
Next He tells them the most important thing––in the case of the last few congregations, He says these words last, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic congregations.” Yochanan knew these words well. Hearing and seeing were equivalent to Yeshua saying, “The Good News that the Kingdom of God has come!” He was in essence saying that whoever has ears to hear this, and takes action to spread the Good News, would become an Overcomer for he had heard the Good News, and had seen the Kingdom of God!
Yochanan knew this Jezebel spirit was very dangerous and this congregation was allowing this spirit to infiltrate their people. In fact, it was the most dangerous spirit he himself had ever come across––it is the enemy of God. But it portrays itself quite the opposite, for those who come under this spirit appear to have an air of religiosity that beguiles those around them. It teaches false doctrines, but presents them in a way that those who do not discern this spirit’s lies will fall for every lie. These lies always lead to idolatry in some form.
Those who overcome this evil spirit and her lies will receive the morning star! The morning star being the sun, but also the Son––morning star in Hebrew (shemesh) means that which devours the chaos of the destroyer––and is related to the shamash, the center of the Menorah, Yeshua Himself!
Although Yochanan knew that Yeshua would choose His bride in this way, he also knew that He was trying to get a point across––only those who would dig deep into His Word would find what He really meant by these letters. Yochanan again felt a strong compelling to pray for those at the end of the age, not only for their safety because they would be battling the enemy against doctrines of demons, but also for them to really dig deep into Yeshua’s Word to find the real Truth––buried within the Hebrew words. Yochanan so wanted them to know what he knew about the Lord.
Updated September 21, 2018
The Last Shofar
The Last Shofar takes a new and fresh look at the book of Revelation––from a possible Hebrew perspective of Yochanan (John) himself.
The Last Shofar not only delves deep into the Hebrewness of Revelation, it gives new interpretations of the chapters. It will give you new insight into many passages always wondered about.