It is a time of separation. Jesus told the parable of the separation of the sheep and the goats. He also told the parable of the separation of the wheat and the tares. This is a very difficult thing to see. Jesus spoke the following in Mat. 13:
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Jesus said that it had been given for His disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to the multitudes it had not been given. In verse 13 Jesus said that He spoke in parables because seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand. How could Jesus say such a thing? It is because our inability to see and hear and understand is determined by ourselves, thus we are held accountable. Verse 15 speaks of how the hearts of the people had grown dull, and their eyes had closed and their ears hard of hearing. This is all speaking of our spiritual faculties. Verse 15 holds a very important key of judgment. The lack of seeing, hearing, and understanding is a willful choice that is made.
Peter spoke that judgment must begin first with the house of God. It is Christianity that is under judgment at the present time. We need not look past our own hearts to see where the sword is falling. It may be that this sounds offensive. Christianity is filled with a false sense of security. It revels in its visions and revelations, not understanding the mixture from whence they originate.
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
The church of Sardis describes Christianity in its present state. It has a name that it is alive, but it is dead. Sardis is exhorted to wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die. In verse three Sardis is further exhorted to repent. The book of Hebrews speaks of a repentance from dead works. Present day Christianity preoccupies itself with many endeavors, none of which has merit before God. It permeates every level, from the social gospel to the so-called “kingdom message.” Jesus said that if Sardis will not wake up, He would come like a thief and they would not know the hour in which He comes. This has nothing to do with a second coming as it is commonly preached. Christianity comfortably puts into the future any manifestation of Christ. By doing so it alleviates itself from any responsibility to walk in a present manifestation of the Lord. Christianity busies itself preaching many things, yet none of its teachings can reveal Christ in a present manifestation.
Jesus said that a few in Sardis had not soiled their garments. What does it mean, “soil their garments?” Let’s get real graphic here. When a baby needs changing, we say it has soiled its diaper. In other words, it has messed in its pants. This is exactly the state of Christianity. It has messed in its pants. Christianity is soiled with the refuse of Adam, and has become as the great whore, Babylon, the dwelling place of every foul and hateful thing (Rev. 18). “Oh, Roger, you have really gone over the edge with that statement!” Have I? The book of Revelation is a book of contrasts, revealing the true and the false. The book of Revelation is dealing with the revealing of Jesus Christ in His people. There is the false church, and there is the true church. This is exactly what Jesus points out in His message to Sardis. The book of Revelation is not dealing with the secular world. It deals with His people. The book is revealing Jesus Christ and the judgment upon the false spirit that has always infiltrated God’s moving. If we want to understand all the symbolism of Revelation, we should humble ourselves and look within, because in our hearts is where it starts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Back in verses 4-5 of our text from Revelation, Jesus speaks of a people walking in white because they are worthy. He then says that those who overcome will be clothed in white garments. White, of course, is indicative of Christ’s own nature, free from all of Adam’s corruption. True Christianity then is defined by Christ’s nature abiding within. This does not just happen because someone has accepted Christ. His nature is formed in us through the cross having its way. Thus, we are able to discern the true from the false.
14 ¶ “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
We make a mistake if we try to interpret Revelation in any type of chronological order. The revelation of Jesus Christ does not exist on a time line. The revelation of the Lord abides in the eternal now. This means there is present truth regardless of what time or era we are standing in. The book of Revelation transcends the realm of time as we know it. The above verses in Rev. 3 are another expression of Christianity’s fallen state. Another facet is being revealed. Notice how the exhortation comes to buy gold refined in the fire. This is the work of the cross. Christ’s nature is the gold formed in us through His dealings. Once again there is the emphasis upon white garments. We are to “buy” these white garments just as we are to “buy” the refined gold. To “buy” means it costs us something. It costs us our lives. David once said that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing (2nd Sam. 24). Jesus also said to buy eye salve to anoint the eyes that they may see. This blindness was referenced in our passages from Mat. 13.
What is it that so defiles Christianity? What influence is so powerful that it creates a false Christianity, even a false Christ? We have that answer also in these messages to the churches.
20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
To understand Jezebel, we must first understand that what we are dealing with is a spirit. This spirit is tolerated in Christianity. Why? Because it is not recognized. First, she calls herself a prophetess. This means this is a prophetic spirit that mimics the true spirit of prophecy. Later on in Revelation, it is stated that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:19). The true spirit of prophecy reveals Jesus Christ. All true revelation springs from a revealing of Christ in our spirits. We are to literally “speak Christ.”
9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”
10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Notice how John falls at the feet of the one speaking. Why would he do that? Because he heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it was not the Lord, per se, but rather His voice through one of John’s fellow servants. The voice of Christ was indistinguishable from the channel speaking. Going back to the beginning of chapter 19, we read such terms as “a great multitude,” and “the sound of many waters.” These are just metaphors for the true body of Christ, many channels, but one voice flowing through them.
The “voice” of Jezebel flows through false Christianity. Her voice is mingled with the true. We would be surprised at the amount of “revelation” that sincere Christians speak as from the Lord, when in reality, its source is Jezebel. Prophetic utterances are a dime a dozen these days. Such utterances appeal to the soulish religion in our Adamic natures. Too many Christians hear utterances or teachings in the name of Christ, and automatically assume their source is Christ. When someone says, “Thus says the Lord,” or, speaks in first person as if the Lord were speaking, too many Christians are carried away by it. Verse 20 says, “She teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat thing sacrificed to idols.” Jesus did not say that only casual believers are led astray, but His bond-servants. This indicates a high level of deception. In Mat. 24 Jesus said that if possible, even the elect would be deceived. What are these acts of immorality that Jesus spoke of? It has nothing to do with literal sexual promiscuity. We are dealing with spiritual realities. Jezebel causes God’s bond-servants to serve other gods thinking they are serving Him. This is why Jesus said that the day would come when there would be those who kill His disciples thinking they were offering service to God.
26 ¶ “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
1 ¶ “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.
2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
3 “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.
Verses 26-27 tell us the same thing we read in Rev. 19. It is the Spirit of truth in a believer that testifies of Christ. This is the true spirit of prophecy. But then Jesus says that the disciples would be made outcasts, and that everyone who kills them would think they were offering service to God. Why? Verse 3 of the next chapter explains it. “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.” Here we see again the false and the true. Motives and intentions are mostly good in the false realm. Sincere people believe they are serving God.
Verse 21 from our text in Rev. 2 about Jezebel says that she does not want to repent of her immorality. As has been stated, the “woman” Jezebel is the false church. Jezebel’s immorality feeds her. Her visions and revelations feed the religious soul lives in Christians. Paul stated once that knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. What makes all this difficult is that the false is always mixed with the true. If Jezebel’s “revelation” were blatantly idolatrous, few Christians would be fooled. But as it is, her revelation always pertains to Christ. It’s not the teachings themselves that are necessarily false, but the nature from which they come. The root of Jezebel’s visions and revelation is the Adamic nature. The life of Christ does not flow through Jezebel’s teachings, regardless of how factual they may be. This does not get any closer to home for us. We will never, ever distinguish the true from the false by outward appearances. We must look inwardly to our own hearts. It is our repentance before God that aligns us with the true. It is our willingness to submit to His Lordship that seals us as true.
Jesus said in Rev. 2:23 that He will kill Jezebel’s children with pestilence. This means that all that is begotten of that spirit will be judged. Jesus then says that all the churches will know that it is He who searches the minds and hearts. We are in such an hour of searching.