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The Revelation of Navi Y'shua
By John of AllFaith © 9.16.09 (last update: 10.24.2012)
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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
The Seven Periods Continued
The Period of Sardis: The Reformation to the Peace of Westphalia and beyond.
1520 CE - 1750 CE: The former Messianic Movement established by Rebbe Y'shua was now hopelessly fragmented on several fronts despite the Rebbe's clear instructions that his talmidim (students) should maintain doctrinal unity. Our Rebbe prayed to HaShem on our behalf the following words:John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And again Paul writes:I Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Master Y'shua the Anointed, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of the Anointed.
13 Is the Anointing divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
The Nicean Christians, those who embraced the Nicene heresies, were now woefully divided on almost every point of doctrine and the world shook its collective head not knowing what to believe anymore! Everywhere was hypocrisy, graft and disagreements on virtually every point of doctrine.
It was during this chaotic period that Deism -- the belief that One God exists, but that He is completely unknowable and uninvolved with the affairs of the earth -- and Secular Humanism, the essential Atheistic paradigm, arose in earnest. Secular Humanism of course is the Humanist religion/philosophy that espouses human reason, ethics, and justice above all else while specifically rejecting the supernatural and spiritual as the basis of moral reflection and decision making. While the term wasn't coined until the twentieth century, its origins as a belief system arose during this period among the European Elite. The term "Secular Humanism" was coined in clear contradistinction to the growing influence of what was known as "Religious Humanism." Both belief systems developed and were embraced because of Christian divisiveness and disharmony. The sentiment was that one can have faith in a God whose own followers can not even agree on seemingly simple points of doctrine. This attitude lead to the God is dead movement of the 50's and 60's.
Toward the end of the Period of Sardis the United States was preparing to declare its independence from Great Britain. Although it is clear that most of the new nation's founders and populace deeply believed in the God of the Bible in some fashion, they established the nation under the principles of Deism due to the doctrinal infighting within the hopelessly divided Christian Church. It was clear that something was fundamentally wrong with the Christian religion the people had inherited, but what that was was unclear. As the rival Nicean sects sought to establish their own sectarian authority, the leaders of the American revolution decided to sidestep these debates and prevent any of the factions from taking over and cementing their doctrinal views. There were also darker forces at work as we'll discuss later. The nation was therefore established on "Judeo-Christian principles" but without allowing any of the rival factions to usurp control of the reigns of power. Considering the times it was an ingenious solution. AND as John Adams, the founder credited by many as having written most of the Constitution once said: our Constitution is intended only for a moral and religious people, and that it is wholly unfit for any other: for if a man will not obey God’s laws how could we expect him to obey man’s laws?
The so-called Wall of Separation between religion and state is the product of people who either lack an accurate understanding of the founding fathers intentions or else who intentionally usurped the government they had so carefully founded. Our Constitution is intended only for a moral and religious people, and it is wholly unfit for any other... Perhaps this is why many modern presidents now view that founding document as nothing but a piece of useless paper, as George W. Bush once stated directly.
Just consider what we have lost and are now losing. HaShem warns:II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
But America and the Western world are now systematically turning against HaShem and His people rather than bowing before the King over kings with humility. Our sins are being retained and we as a nation stand accused and justly condemned. This process was beginning during this period and is now coming to fruition.
Due to the destructive influences of the Nicolaitan heresy now embraced by all segments of the Nicean Church (as discussed in Chapter two) it was now objectively impossible to demonstrate what the Rebbe actually taught, but the Nicean Christians nonetheless debated endlessly hoping to further their own denominational views and authority! With the ascendency of the Nicolaitan heresies even those who seriously sought the Truth remained largely in the dark, oblivious of the Jewish roots of the Way of Rebbe Y'shua.
Jumping ahead a bit for a moment, taking advantage of this ongoing religious chaos, in the twentieth century Secular Humanism gained control of the nation and the United States government virtually declared war on religious faith. The US "Supreme Court" essentially outlawed all public expression of religion and the government run schools began openly indoctrinating the children of the nation into Secular Humanist beliefs and values. In this way the structures that had been established to educate the youth of the nation essentially are now reducing the human race to slightly evolved monkeys and placing all morality under the determination of cultural relativism as determined by the Humanist Cultural Elite. This movement was beginning during this period of Sardis. Of course this was not only happening in the U.S. But during this period that country was growing in influence and power. The global influences of the U.S. -- both for good and ill -- justifies this inclusion in the study I think even though the US is not mentioned in any biblical passage.
Had the Way Movement obeyed the Master and not abandoned his teachings things would have gone quite differently. The Church has only itself to blame for its many woes and loss of influence.
During this Sardis period religion had become habit to which one tenaciously clung without question or reason. These Christians, religiously the freest since the days of Constantine, could have researched and prayerfully restored the Way, but instead they faithlessly clung to the status quo passed down to them. And in the Eastern and Roman Catholic Churches, among the Anglicans (Church of England, Baptists etc.) and throughout the diverse Protestant sects nothing essential changed. Anglicans and Protestants railed against the Catholic Church while essentially preserving its essential non-biblical dogmas. They were all “daughters” of the Mother Church despite their protestations.
During this period the Way taught by Y'shua the Anointed was largely forgotten. The Pagan additions to Church dogma had become so entrenched by this point that the Reformers, who promised to restore the true faith, had no idea what Rebbe Y'shua taught and so their own assumptions limited them from rediscovering the Way. How then could they restore the Way when they were unwilling to question their own Vatican-formed beliefs? Nicean Christians of this period were woefully ignorant of the Bible, in part because the Church had declared reading it illegal for so long! Now that they could read the Bible for themselves the Church was so doctrinally fragmented and divided by the chaos and infighting that the notion of Christian Unity was seldom even contemplated. The Bible during this period became little more to these people than a book of myths and bedtime stories, a dust covered "coffee table volume" that demonstrated ones "faith" to ones friends and business associates but held no real meaning nor solace. The word "Christian" came to mean that one was good person -- "My what a Christian thing to do" and "that's not very Christian now is it?" -- not that one was "Christ-like" or operating under God's anointing. This period of Church history is described by Apostle John here as being all but dead.
The main disagreements the Protestants of this period cited with the Roman Church are contained in Martin Luther's Ninety Five Thesis of Reformation. What is woefully absent from this list is the need to return to the Jewish roots of our Rebbe's teachings. To embrace Shabbat, the biblical Sabbath, to correct certain erroneous dogmas concerning the very nature of the One God, His son and so on. The main Nicolaitan heresies remained in place and were not even questioned by the Protestant Reformers.
Despite this, there were still innumerable sincere and devoted people within the Roman, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Churches and for them and for future generations HaShem remained present within the Church, working for the good of His people and the eventual establishment of His Glorious Kingdom.
Our text for this lesson is:Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
In these verses the Rebbe reveals to John and to us that much had been lost during this period, but that some yet remained.
Prophetic descriptors like the “seven spirits of God,” the “seven stars,” the “ seven lamps of fire” (4:5), the “seven eyes” (Zechariah 3:9, 4:10) and so on have produced many interesting hypotheses over the years. Despite the various Kabbalistic and esoteric connotations, for our present purposes such phrases should be understood in their normal contexts. The number seven is used to confirm completeness, an infinite number. In this context the reference refers to seven angels that oversee these seven churches. Remember that while these were literal Messianic communities, they are being used by John the Beloved to signify seven ages or time periods through which the Messianic Movement would pass. Sardis for instance was the ancient capital of Lydia, the kingdom of wealthy Croesus, on the river Pactolus. It was a fitting example of this period as the kingdoms of Europe were consolidating their powers and establishing their independence from the Vatican. Even as an “angel” watching over the city of Sardis does not mean only one angel was there, so too the seven angels reference the totality of the angels ministering during this period.
Likewise as diadem in the crown of a king, so too the “stars” of the seven periods bejewel in the crown of Moshiach. Again, a fitting metaphor if not taken too literally.
John's Revelation was concerned primarily with those events that would take place between the End of the Times of the Gentiles (Luke_21:24) and the establishment of the Kingdom. The seven periods of the “Church age” are preparatory to that information.
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