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Notes for

Revelation Chapter Two

Part Two


17. Not much is known about Antipas (his name means 'father's image') but an old tradition tells us that he was the bishop of Pergamos.

The church people were like Jesus, who talked and acted out His faith while on earth. They were enduring all things, but they were accepting false doctrine and allowing control to be taken over them.

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18. Numbers 22:1-35 A classic case of wanting our own way

And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched [their tents] in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel [Moab was cousin to Israel]. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.

A false church leader approached a member of the true church

And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore to Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor [a prophet of God], which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against [or near] me: Come now therefore, I pray you, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.

Balaam seeks the Lord in prayer instead of rejecting the offer

And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination [or, speaking prophetically] in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and spoke to him the words of Balak. And he said to them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak to me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.

Do you know who you have here?

And God came to Balaam, and said, What men are these with you?

And Balaam said to God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covers the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.

He is refused permission to go

And God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people: for they are blessed.

Balaam refused to learn why he shouldn’t go

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuses to give me leave to go with you.

They thought he wanted more money

And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak, and said, Balaam refuses to come with us.

He is offered more incentives to sin

And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray you, hinder you from coming to me: for I will promote you to very great honour, and I will do whatsoever you say to me: come therefore, I pray you, curse me this people.

Balaam really did want the money so he asked again

And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you, tarry you also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say to me more.

God’s condition – they must call you

And God came to Balaam at night, and said to him, If the men come to call you, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say to you, that shall you do.

But he called them

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went [His protection had to be withdrawn because of disobedience]: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.

A drawn sword is a warning of danger

Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself to the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

The donkey responded to the warning

And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

A most unusual occurrence

And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have smitten me these three times?

And Balaam said to the ass, Because you have mocked me: I would there were a sword in my hand, for now would I kill you.

And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, upon which you have ridden ever since I was yours to this day? Was I ever wont to do so to you? And he said, Nay.

Now Balaam accepts that what he has done is not right

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in His hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said to him, Wherefore have you smitten your ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse before Me: and the ass saw Me, and turned from Me these three times: unless she had turned from Me, surely now also I had slain you, and saved her alive.

He asks for forgiveness but with an "if"! He was not willing to know

And Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that You stood in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease You, I will get me back again. And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak to you, that you shall speak [and he agreed to this condition]. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Balaam was a prophet who sold his religion for money. He eventually took the money but blessed the people instead of cursing them. Balak was the king of an opposing religious group and their way of worship was very emotional, but Balaam saw no harm in joining with them, so he persuaded the people of God that it was all right.

Numbers 25:1-3 Balaam came and led them astray

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab [by joining in their religious festivals]. And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself to Baalpeor [and left the living God]: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Balaam ended up joining the Midianite church and was killed by the Israelites when they attacked Midian later. Numbers 31:8.

Micah 6:5-8 An important lesson for us

O My people, remember now what [not who] Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim to Gilgal; that you may know the righteousness of the LORD.

What is the manner of true worship?

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly [or, humble yourself to walk or listen] with your God?

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19. The ultimate in Nicolaitanism

The Hutchinson History of the World,

by J. M. Roberts, Hutchinson of NZ, 1976, pages 324-5.

Constantine was the [Roman] emperor [274-388AD] who gave the Church official houseroom. He thus played a more important part in shaping its future than any other Christian layman and was to be called the ‘thirteenth Apostle’....

He saw himself as responsible to God for the well-being of the Church to which he more and more publicly and equivocally adhered...

In some of Constantine’s work (like that of Diocletian) there was a development of things latent and implicit in the past, an extension of earlier precedents. This was true of his interventions in the internal affairs of the Church. As early as 272, the Christians of Antioch had appealed to the emperor to remove a bishop and Constantine himself in 316 tried to settle a controversy in North Africa by installing a bishop of Carthage against the will of a local group known as Donatists.

Constantine came to believe that the emperor owed to God more than a grant of freedom to the Church or even an endowment [cash payment]. His conception of his role evolved towards that of the guarantor and, if need be, the imposer of the unity which God required as the price of His continuing favour. When he turned on the Donatists it was this view of his duty which gave them the unhappy distinction of being the first schismatics [separatist party or offshoot] to be persecuted by a Christian government.

Constantine was the creator of CAESAROPAPISM [emphasis mine], the belief that the secular ruler has divine authority to settle religious belief [as a 'father' in the church], and [he thought] of the notion of [having an] established religion in Europe for the next thousand years...

How much of the Church’s rise was in the end inevitable it is not profitable to consider. Certainly – in spite of a North African Christian tradition which saw the state as an irrelevancy – something so positively important as Christianity could hardly have remained for ever unrecognized by the civil power. Yet someone had to begin and Constantine was the man who took the crucial steps which linked Church and empire for so long as the empire should last. His choices were historically decisive. The Church gained most, for it acquired the charisma of Rome.

[For this article in full click here].

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20. Isaiah 30:19-22 The Spirit will guide

For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: you shall weep no more: He will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers [clearly]: and your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.

Outward beauty in religion will no longer be impressive

You shall defile [despise] also the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of your molten images of gold: you shall cast them away as a menstruous cloth; you shall say to it, Get you hence [or, away from me].

It is imperative that we listen to the Spirit of God if we would follow in His footsteps. Not thinking we know, but actually being led by His voice through the Scriptures. Having a plain "Thus says the Lord" for our actions.

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21. Revelation 3:12 There will be great understanding all round

Him that overcomes will I make a pillar [a great support] in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out [will never leave Me]: and I will write upon him the name [or understanding of the character] of My God, and the name [or character] of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.

The white stone is a symbol of passing the judgment by overcoming "self." The new name will be descriptive of the character which has been developed by the Christian.

Matthew 13:10-17 The Bible must be searched for the treasure

And the disciples came, and said to Him, Why speak You to them in parables [or apparent riddles]?

He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given [more], and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. [Remember the principle of the talents in Matthew 25?]

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says,

By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: [Isaiah 6:9]

for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear [for 'mysteries' are always clearly explained]. For verily I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.

hidden manna = the deep treasures of the Bible.

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22. Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says to Zion, Your God reigns!

Romans 10:15

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Jesus mentioned that He has feet like fine brass, which is His way of telling them that He also preached the gospel in humanity and understands their difficulties, for that was the material used in the courtyard of the sanctuary.

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23. "first and last works" = the beginning and the end of what historians now call the dark ages. The "last" were better that the first because the effect of the last works was to bring the people out of darkness, while the first led them into it. Tolerance and compromise are not substitutes for care and freedom.

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24. 1 Kings 16:29-33 Jezebel’s husband was king Ahab of Israel

And in the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel [the breakaway northern kingdom]: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.

And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat [Jeroboam engineered the split in the church], that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians [a sun worshipper], and went and served Baal [the god of force], and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.

And Ahab made a grove [a place of worship]; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the Kings of Israel that were before him.

1 Kings 19:1-3 A death threat

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life [trying to save himself], and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

1 Kings 21:23-26 This king was very wicked

And of Jezebel also spoke the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dies of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dies in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

But there was none like to Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Malachi 4:5-6 The promise of the last days

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

That woman Jezebel the prophetess is also known as the scarlet woman - the false church. Note that where a Jezebel is, there is also an Elijah, for God does not let evil flourish without a check. These three will be very active in the last days also, just as they were during the dark ages. Jezebel represents the false church, Ahab as king represents the state, and Elijah is the voice of God crying in the wilderness.

What we will see will be a Sunday keeping system which believes in using force allied with a civil system which believes in upholding that kind of religion, persecuting a small group of believers who are holding fast to the words of the Bible.

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25. Hosea 3:1-5 Hosea’s experience was a type of God’s

Then said the LORD to me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.

He brought his wife back from slavery

So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: and I said to her, You shall abide for me many days; you shall not play the harlot, and you shall not be for another man: so will I also be for you.

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

"space" = the time, times and half a time (1260 day/years) that we have read about in Daniel. From 538 to 1798 God tried hard to lead His professed people back into the light of truth but the vast majority of them have persistently refused, even to this day. The true Israel of God have indeed been "given into his hand" for that time.

Romans 2:4-11 There have always been rejecters who call themselves Christian

Or despise you the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.

It is all based on works!

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but to them that are contentious [argumentative], and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew [or church person] first, and also of the Gentile [the non-church goer]; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.

Revelation 22:12 Jesus will give the rewards

[Jesus says] And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man [and woman] according as his work shall be.

Don’t misunderstand this!! No amount of works can bring about salvation and cleansing. That is a totally free gift because of the love of Christ and only needs to be accepted. BUT AFTER THAT then works are expected in the power supplied by the indwelling of Jesus and the rewards are based on those works as we have just read.

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26. Jesus was saying to the leaders in this church/time, Your limited understanding will not affect your salvation but it does affect your works and your life. Repent, or change your ways, and you will miss the great tribulation or persecutions which are coming. Remember I am also the Son of man and as such I appreciate how you will survive during this long period. You have lived up to all you know, but you have allowed the false church to over-shadow you.

There were many and varied persecutions during this period of history, the worst of which was called "The Inquisition". Anyone, Christian or not, could be accused and be tortured until confession was wrung out, and then suffer death, often by being burnt at the stake. Religious differences led to battlefield situations where nations fought over the meanings of words and doctrines.

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27. Matthew 10:26 God knows, and one day it will be revealed

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

"reins and hearts" = the thoughts and innermost motives.

Hebrews 4:12-13 It is our attitude to God's word which shows

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

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28. Matthew 6:34 Jesus lives by His own word

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

So long as each one lived up to the little light they had, they were safe and God would require no more of them.

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29. Malachi 4:2 The Morning Star = Himself

But to you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

2 Peter 1:19 He is the Day Star

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star [the sun] arise in your hearts...

The "rod of iron" is love, for that is the greatest power in the universe, and it keeps its subjects in strict self discipline.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 Moses knew this

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command you this day for your good?

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30. If you hear "what the Spirit says to the churches", and meditate upon the instruction given to you, your ears will be closed to the folly and nonsense which surround you. You will neither hear nor repeat these things, nor will you ever hanker after them. When Christ satisifies the soul hunger, these trivialities are to you distasteful and disgusting. You have no desire to feast on them, but choose instead the bread of heaven.

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