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The Revelation of Navi Y'shua:
By John of AllFaith © 9.16.09 (last update: 10.24.2012)
Revelation Chapter Two
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Please Note: the video and audio versions are identical.
They are based on the written version below but are not recitations of it.
We pray to HaShem, the Holy One of Israel to fill our hearts with wisdom and understanding as we continue this study into the Revelation of our chief rabbi, Navi Y'shua Amen.
The Seven Periods of the Jewish Community
As we study the second and third chapters of the Revelation of Y'shua the Anointed of HaShem we will discover that the Gentile inclusive Jewish Movement begun by Rebbe Y'shua and his talmidim -- would largely be replaced by the heresies of the "Universalist Religion" (i.e. the Catholic: "Universal" Church). This heresy is referenced in various ways as we will see as we continue.
Y'shua reveals to John that despite the various heresies held by the congregations, the light of God's Torah would continue to burn within the hearts of sincere men and women throughout seven distinct periods of time. Finally, Y'shua warns, these heresies and those who embrace them will become so completely opposed to Torah that he, as high priest, will finally excise them from the community of Believers. He will "vomit them out" into the final seven year tribulation period (Revelation 3:14-19). These congregations, denominations and so on -- along with their advocates -- are going to be rejected by God and man completely. They are warned to "come out from among them" (Revelation 18:4) before its too late. For now the door remains open, but the night is fast approaching (Revelation 3:20).
This important warning is presented using the medium of seven local assemblies as metaphor. As discussed, John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos when he penned these words. His lessons had to be somewhat cloaked in symbolism lest they be discovered and destroyed. Furthermore, during the hundreds of years that followed the writings they had to be preserved by the "Church fathers." Had these men understood the significance of the prophecies related to, for instance, the identity of Babylon the Great, the texts would surely have been destroyed. There were many within the Church who wanted to destroy this work anyway. For these reasons as well as the natural flow of the prophecy, we understand that the seven assemblies John references, while they did exist as real communities of the day, concealed much deeper information. John used the spiritual traits of these congregations to signify the future of Christian religion that would replace Y'shua's teachings from his day until the End of the Age.
We are currently living in the seventh and final of these periods as we will see in the next chapter. Today most people who identify as Christians are not even aware that the religion taught by Rebbe Y'shua is not Christianity. Very few Christians have ever studied the origins of the Roman religion they practice.
John the Revelator was living during the early stages of the first of these seven periods. For him, everything that follows was future.
As we continue with our verse by verse study of the Revelation we will examine each of these Seven Church periods and their approximate dates. These dates are given only as markers. The distinguishing traits of each period bleeds over into the others in the continuous flow of time. This list should not therefore be taken as giving exact dates for the periods they reference.
In this presentation our Rebbe addresses those who hold true to the Jewish Movement he founded.
Hopefully this includes you.
Much of this information is difficult to hear and accept, however as the Beast (the coming global despot) will soon rise it is vital that all Believers of sincere faith understand these things and prepare for them.
The Period of Ephesus:Luke 21:24 And they [the Jewish people] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Some say the Times of the Gentiles began when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Judea. Others say it began when Rome finalized its control of Judea circa 37 BCE. What is certain is that as of 70 CE the Goyim fully controlled the Holy City and trampled it underfoot until 1967 when it was liberated. We therefore begin our calculation of the seven periods with the fall of the Beit HaMikdash (“House of the Holy,” the Jerusalem Temple).
70 CE - 170 CE: As the Jews were expelled from Zion (as our Rebbe had foretold forty years earlier at Matthew 23 and 24) the followers of the Way spread throughout the Empire. Wherever they went these Jews shared the Gospel (Good News) of Cohen Gadol Y'shua (Y'shua the High Priest and Mediator) among the people. Among their proclamations was something deemed to be truly extraordinary:
The Jews had historically been rather clannish, staying to themselves as much as possible, however as the prophets had foretold, HaShem was now calling the Noahide nations (the Goyim or Gentiles) into the Covenant of Israel! Unheard of!Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, says Adonai, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,
31:32 not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Adonai;
31:33 but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Adonai, I will put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
31:34 And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Adonai; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Adonai. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
We are still waiting for the fulfillment of this prophecy. Of the day when this prophecy is fulfilled Prophet Isaiah reveals:Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger [nekar: non-Jews], who join themselves to Adonai to serve Him, and to love the name of Adonai, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and takes hold of My covenant;
56:7 even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples,
56:8 says Adonai Elohiym who gathers the outcasts of Israel, Yet I will gather beside him his gathered ones.
56:9 All beasts of the field, come to devour, all beasts in the forest.
Because the invitation of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and Rebbe Y'shua was not accepted by the Elders of Israel the Kingdom was not established at that time. However as the Movement spread across the globe the Promise went with it that one day Moshiach would return and the prophecies would be fulfilled. During this early period many Gentiles entered into Judaism.
As time passed the talmidim of Y'shua confronted progressively stiffer opposition from Roman Pagans who regarded the Way as a serious threat to their established order. Likewise as time passed anti-Way Jews, seeing the rapid successes of the Way taught by Y'shua and his talmidim, also opposed these Jews. Gentiles who sought conversion into Judaism through the new movement were cast aside and condemned by the Jewish orthodoxy as it redefined itself in the aftermath of Masada.
In time the persecutions and depredations faced by the followers of the Way became horrendous. Many were forced underground into hiding. As we go through these two chapters examining how the Judaism of Y'shua became the Church of Rome (and its daughter denominations) we will do well to bear these extreme difficulties in mind. These were generally good people facing extreme circumstances. As Fox's Book of Martyrs makes clear, countless Way Jews throughout this period met the challenges with admirable faith, courage and martyrdom. All sincere Jews today should read the experiences recorded in Fox's Book of Martyrs to prepare for what is now dawning. This knowledge will give us a more balanced perspective and help us understand the circumstances that lead both to the heretical Christian movements. We should not judge these people too harshly. They face persecutions that we today can scarcely imagine.
As time passed and the followers of Y'shua, both Jews by birth and through conversion, found themselves increasingly isolated and despised on all sides. Some of them began embracing regional non-Abrahamic doctrines and traditions. Sometimes they did so out of necessity to avoid persecution, sometimes due to the lack of accurate scriptural knowledge and sometimes out of greed and the desire for power. Whatever the reason, the Jewish Movement of Rebbe Y'shua gradually moved away from Torah and embraced beliefs that were contradictory of the teachings of the Jewish people.
During this first period some talmidim, having lost their homes and finding themselves dispersed throughout the Gentile world, persecuted and universally hated, without the support or community of other Jews, began to compromise their doctrines and to embrace things never taught by Rebbe Y'shua nor the Hebrew Scriptures he honored.
Through such gradual compromises some talmidim eased their sense of isolation and found limited acceptance among the primarily Pagan public. These compromised Jews shared their tainted understandings with others and the doctrinal confusion increased exponentially. In time the local congregations bore little similarity to Judaism at all. Finally the former sect of Judaism broke away from Torah and established a completely different religion as we will see as we continue.
As more and more Pagans converted to the Way their beliefs, traditions and cultures came with them. Due to persecution and assimilation these Jews lacked clear leadership and biblical teaching. Many of those who claimed to be emissaries or teachers of the Way had ulterior motives. Others were sincere however lacked accurate knowledge of Hebrew religion and culture. How could a person with little or no knowledge of Torah teach Torah? This was a serious and growing problem as converts taught converts who had learned from other converts. The movement was becoming a predominately Gentile religion separated from its Hebrew origins.
Then there were the intellectuals and opportunists who gave themselves over to the teachings of the Nicolaitans. These people intentionally and with understanding sold out the Movement for a few pieces of silver and a bit of clout with the Roman authorities. Their compromises doubtless seemed inconsequential at the time, and yet they added to the growing Paganization of the Way. Rome held the power and Rome hated Jews. A sizable percentage of the the Jewish Way followers were from convert and non-Jewish families and cultures. The solution seemed clear enough: Just stop being Jewish!
During this early period of growing apostasy most of the original movement remained faithful to Rebbe Y'shua and Torah. They knew heretical doctrines were being perpetrated by people claiming to be Jews but in truth were Pagans (Revelation 2:9) and they hated it, but for the most part they looked the other way. As we are told:Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write:
"He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden menorahs [candelabra] says these things:
2:2 "I know your works and your toil and perseverance, and that you can't tolerate evil men and have tested those who call themselves emissaries but are not, and found them to be false.
2:3 You have perseverance and have endured for my name's sake, and have not grown weary.
2:4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love.
2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your menorah out of its place, unless you repent.
2:6 But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.
During this first period there were still many devout followers of the authentic Jewish Way. Many of these people struggled admirably to maintain the true Jewish doctrines of the Rebbe's reform movement. Others however were seeking power over the congregations. Some of these men were confirmed anti-Semites who sought to strip the movement of its Jewish identity and to replace the Elect of HaShem with their own authority. Others were opportunists who saw the political potential of the fast growing movement. Religion had always held great power in Roman life and court and it was obvious that the people of Rome were becoming dissatisfied with the Pagan religions of the day. If the popular Way movement could be "cleansed" of its Jewishness the possibilities were endless!
To this end various charlatans arose. Each claiming to be authentic emissaries (or apostolos apostles or religious teachers and leaders) of the Way of Y'shua. Many of these “Church fathers” were introducing foreign doctrines and leading the talmidim astray. Chief among these heretical movements was the Nicolaitan heresy.
While neither the texts we have today in the Bible nor external sources positively identify this movement, we do have clear information about their beliefs that make their identity certain. We know for instance that they were counterfeit Jews who claimed to follow Rebbe Y'shua. From verse 14 below we learn that they held to "the error of Balaam."
The Error of Balaam
Of this heresy the Rav Peter tells us:CJB: II Peter 2:1 But among the people there were also false prophets, just as there will be false teachers among you. Under false pretenses they will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and thus bring on themselves swift destruction
2 Many will follow their debaucheries; and because of them, the true Way will be maligned.....
15 These people have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Bil'am Ben-B'or, who loved the wages of doing harm
16 but was rebuked for his sin - a dumb beast of burden spoke out with a human voice and restrained the prophet's insanity!
17 Waterless springs they are, mists driven by a gust of wind; for them has been reserved the blackest darkness.
18 Mouthing grandiosities of nothingness, they play on the desires of the old nature, in order to seduce with debaucheries people who have just begun to escape from those whose way of life is wrong.
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for a person is slave to whatever has defeated him.
20 Indeed, if they have once escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing our lord and deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah, and then have again become entangled and defeated by them, their latter condition has become worse than their former.
21 It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness than, fully knowing, to turn from the holy command delivered to them.
22 What has happened to them accords with the true proverb, "A dog returns to its own vomit." Yes, "The pig washed itself, only to wallow in the mud!"
Note that these people were once in darkness (ignorant of Torah), had been enlightened by the truth of Judaism and the Rebbe, and had then turned back to their former course. They returned to Paganism and sought to draw the talmidim into their error. They promised liberation but theirs were hollow promises because like dogs they had merely returned to their own vomit. Hence, as we will see as we continue, they and all who embraced their heresies will eventually be “vomited out” (Revelation 3:14-19) in due course.
The reference to “dogs” is significant here. Remember that John is having to shade his words. Jews refer to non-Jews as goyim and one meaning of that word is “dogs” (Matthew 15:27 as we find here). The Nicolaitans claimed to be Jews but in reality they were just goyim who had returned to their vomit (were incorporating their former heresies). And they were advancing quickly!
The Nicolaitan heresy therefore is clearly the mixing of Judaism with Paganism. This process was already underway during the first period of Messianic decline.
The error of Balaam was nothing new of course! This merging of Judaism with other religions and practices is repeatedly condemned throughout the Tanakh as it always led the Jews astray from the God of Israel. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures we see this trend as the Jews committed spiritual prostitution and worshiped Baal, Ashtaroth and other Pagan gods. Now this trend was beginning to be seen in the assemblies of Rebbe Y'shua. The Jews had finally learned and overcome this tendency but the Gentile converts were naive and easily led astray by the Nicolaitans. The result of this spiritual prostitution will be "the Whore of Babylon mas we will discuss later.Jude 11 Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah`s rebellion.
12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
14 To these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,
15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
That the Nicolaitan error was already being seen and opposed by the elders in the first century is made clear here. As the talmidim met for their Sabbath "Love Feasts" these heretics were already quietly murmuring their lies into the ears of the less informed converts. The converts were generally ignorant of Torah of course and what they were told by the Nicolaitans sounded right to them. But human reasoning is not always harmonious with the Torah of HaShem!
The Nicolaitans well understood the potential of the new popular Jewish movement. If they could remove its Jewish elements, make a few changes here and there... then it would enhance their clout with Rome, establish a large contingent, of zealous supporters and secure their own authority over the Empire itself!
Just as there were false prophets among their Jewish ancestors, Peter and Jude (the brother of James, Y'shua's half brother) warns us that so too those who held to the error of Balaam were present within the Way assemblies of their day. They warned with strong words that the seductive influences of the heretics was growing threat to the survival of the Movement. As this first prophetic Period drew to a close the error of Balaam, the Nicolaitan heresies, were advancing like dangerous reefs in the sea of truth and threatening to sink the ship of the Way with false doctrine and lack of Torah observance. The heretics were attacking the very core of the Jewish religion and world view.
At the very heart of biblical religion is the Eternal Truth that HaShem is One echad).
Adonai our God is the God of the whole world. There is no god other than He. He is One and there is no second to compare to Him or to be His equal, as our siddurim (prayer books) affirm.Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, Israel: Adonai is our God; Adonai is one
The Nicolaitans however, following the error of Balaam, were seeking to separate the talmidim of Y'shua from the Tree of Israel. They sought to lead them away from Judaism and into the religious synthesis that was the hallmark of Roman religion. They were creating a new universal religion that they hoped would replace both Judaism and the Pagan religions of the Empire. They dreamed of a new universal religion through which they could rule the world.
As is well known, whenever the Roman Empire conquered a people the local gods were merged into the Roman Pantheon. The Jews had determinedly resisted this since first encountering the Romans and thus they regularly angered the Roman religious and civil authorities. The Roman Pagans railed: How dare these Jews lift their God above the gods of Rome and its divine emperor!" Still the Jews stood firm.
The Nicolaitans who were now infiltrating the Way however were more crafty than their peers had been! They understood that Jews would never abandon Torah and merge with the Pagan religions! So they connived to merge the Pagan religions with the Way instead!
The Nicolaitans promised to spread the Judaism of Y'shua everywhere on earth! They determined to establish one global religion and cause all the world to pledge its allegiance to it. The persecution would end and the “cause of Christ” would be the Church Universal and Triumphant!
If the talmidim would play ball that is.
How wonderful that must have sounded! Perhaps this was how the Kingdom of God would be established! Doubtless many of the "Church fathers" were pursuing this course with the best of intentions, seeking to expand the Way's influence and bring salvation to the world. We do know that many of these religious usurpers were deliberately using the movement for their ends, but they managed to convince countless sincere people that this was the Will of HaShem that would lead to Paradise!
Of course, the congregants would have to be reasonable and make some concessions to the other religions, but that seemed like a small price to pay:
The One God of Israel would be recast as a triune being like the Pagan gods. Y'shua would die on a Pagan cross rather than the biblically described stauros of stake/pole. Goddess Ostara would be allowed to maintain her holy day and fertility rites as Easter. The wildly popular Saturnalia festival would continue, only the name was changed (to the Christ mass). The solar crown or halo worn by Sol Invictus would be added to all Christian representations of gods and demigods (called "saints"). The Druids would continue their annual tree worship of O Tannenbaum as Christians merrily decorated Pagan trees in honor of Old “Saint” Nick.... all biblical holidays would be outlawed, the biblically mandated Shabbat would be replaced with the day of the sun god Sol Invictus (Emperor Constantine's god of choice), the goddess would live on through the immaculately conceived and ever-virginal Mary, the Theotokos or "Mother of God..."
But... at what point does doctrinal compromise and religious apathy become heresy? A difficult question. Under the influence of the Nicolaitan teachings the Way gradually ceased to resemble Judaism at all as it merged with Pagan doctrines.
As one reads the writings of the various "Church Fathers" it is abundantly clear that what they were intending to do was reformulate the Way and make it more harmonious with Western philosophic and religious paradigms. They succeeded in this and in the process they abandoned the essential teachings of Rebbe Y'shua and the Torah of HaShem.
This first prophetic period precedes the formal creation of the Roman Papacy, but in the Nicolaitans we see the heretical trend that was later codified into Roman law as the Universal ("Catholic") Religion and her daughter denominations.
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