Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE
SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA
“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and
unto Pergamos, and unto Thyratira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and
unto Laodicea…the seven candlesticks
which thou sawest are the seven churches”
The book of Revelation is clearly addressed to “the seven churches
which are in Asia.” Considering
the purpose of the book of Revelation,
why is the book addressed and delivered to seven
specific churches only? Only by
the revelation of the mind of the Lord can we understand this!
An important key is found in the repeated use of the number seven.
Numerology has always been a subject of special interest to students of
the scriptures. There are two major
errors people fall into when considering the mystical significance of numbers in
the Bible. On the one hand numbers
are looked upon as a sort of “talisman.”
That is to say, numbers are viewed as having power to influence events.
This concept underlies the idea of so-called “lucky numbers.”
The theory is that certain numbers are likely to favor you more than
other people or more than other numbers. Implicit
in this is the notion that the numbers have some kind of magical
— thus they are a talisman, charm,
The other error is in the use of numbers for validation.
By this we mean the concept that the occurrence of certain numbers may
show divine approval of some action you are undertaking or about to undertake.
The fact that your new address, for example, is 777, 888, or some
multiple of seven or twelve may be taken as an indication that God has led you
to this place. But in the
scriptures there is no use of numbers
as talismans or for validation of human actions.
Numbers are used two ways in
the Bible. They may refer to a
literal number or they may be used as symbols or codes to convey a spiritual,
metaphorical, or allegorical meaning. While
several numbers have some sort of mystical significance in the Bible, the ones
of primary importance are three, four, seven, and twelve.
Interestingly enough, all of the numbers convey some aspect of completion, wholeness,
totality, perfection, or power.
In the book
of Revelation numbers do not actually define amounts at all, but they represent concepts. The number twenty-four, for example, is meaningless as an
amount — there are not exactly twenty-four elders sitting on twenty-four
thrones up in some far-off heaven somewhere; but what the number signifies, the priesthood
of God, is vital. The number
144,000 mentioned in the Revelation is relatively unimportant as a number; but
when we understand that it is a multiple of twelve, and that twelve is the
number of divine government, then
twelve squared by itself times a thousand (the number representing the day of the Lord) represents the absolute fullness and perfection of divine
government within a people in the day
of the Lord!
very significant in the economy of God. It
is the most frequently used number in the Bible! The Hebrew word for seven is sheba.
From it is shaba, meaning “to be complete…to seven oneself, i.e. swear by
repeating a declaration seven times.” That
is how the ancients swore, by repeating the oath seven times instead of placing
their hand upon a Bible or merely invoking the name of God
Seven speaks of completion, fullness, perfection.
Nothing can be added to or taken from it without it becoming marred. Being a prime number makes it divisible only by itself.
The week is complete, full, and perfect in seven days.
Seven completes the colors of the spectrum.
There are seven notes in the musical scale.
The cells of the human body completely replace themselves every seven
years. Jesus said that when the
unclean spirit is cast out of a man, but the man’s house (body) is not filled
with God, the spirit returns with seven others more vile than itself and the end
of that man is worse than before. Mary
Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.
Armed with the knowledge of the significance of the number seven in
scripture it becomes clear that in both of these cases the Lord was speaking metaphorically.
Rather than seven devils, there was total
or complete possession by sin and demonic power!
Thank God, in the midst of that unfathomable depth into which Mary
Magdalene had fallen, she was forgiven, delivered, and lifted into life by
This magnificent number seven is used for the grouping of many things
which John saw in his visions on the isle of Patmos.
In chapter one we find seven golden candlesticks which are the seven
churches, seven stars and seven angels which are the messengers of the seven
churches. In chapter four there are
seven lamps of fire burning before the throne which are the seven spirits of
God. In chapter five we see a
scroll sealed with seven seals, and a Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes which
again are the seven spirits of God. Also
there are listed seven things that the Lamb receives — power, riches, wisdom,
strength, honor, glory, and blessing. In
chapter six the Lamb opens the seven seals, one at a time.
In chapter eight John saw seven angels with seven trumpets.
In chapter ten we find the mysterious seven thunders, which John was not
allowed to describe. In chapter
twelve there is seen in heaven a great red dragon having seven heads and seven
crowns on his heads. In chapter
thirteen a beast rises up out of the sea having seven heads.
In chapter fifteen we see seven angels carrying seven vials (bowls) which
contain seven plagues, which are the “wrath of God.”
In chapter seventeen we find a woman riding a beast which has seven
heads. These seven heads are
described as seven mountains (kingdoms) which have seven kings. In chapter twenty-one we again see one of the same seven
angels who had the bowls which had contained the seven plagues and thereafter in
the book of Revelation there are no more sevens.
Everything from that point onward is counted in groups of twelve!
churches are in Asia, which is actually Asia Minor, and were located on the
western end of Asia bordering on the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
It is a small area now in Turkey, about the size of Oregon.
The seven cities mentioned in our text form an irregular loop or circle.
The order in which the cities are named is that in which a messenger
naturally might be sent, as he followed the great circular road that bound
together the most populous and influential part of the province.
Ephesus, the chief city and capital, naturally is mentioned first; then
Smyrna, located about forty miles to the north; then Pergamos, some fifty miles
further northeast. From there,
continuing clockwise around the loop, your next city will be Thyatira, some
forty miles southeast; then Sardis, thirty miles farther south; and Philadelphia
and Laodicea, about thirty and seventy miles to the southeast of Sardis.
It is also interesting to note that this circle of churches lay in the
very territory where the apostle Paul had labored as an apostle, founding many
of the churches. Without doubt the
epistle of Paul to the Ephesians was circulated around this same circle of
churches, for it was the custom in those days for letters to one church to be
shared with all the others. As we
read the messages of the Lord Jesus to the seven churches we are made painfully
aware of the fact that the anointing, glory, holiness, and power of the early
days had already lost much of their freshness and potency, as the second
generation of believers came along. We
shall find that the same conditions which prevail in the church systems today
were already manifest in the primitive church of John’s day!
The churches are seven in number because seven in the Bible is always the
number of completeness.
Remember! There were many
other local congregations existing contemporaneously with the seven
mentioned in Revelation. The seven
churches to whom John wrote were not even the most important!
The churches in Corinth, in Rome, in Iconium, in Lystra, in Derbe, in
Miletus, in Antioch, in Heliopolis, in Colossae, in Thessalonica, in Babylon, or
even Jerusalem itself, are not mentioned.
Instead these seven are singled out! Their selection, however, is deeply significant.
These cities where the churches existed lay along the Imperial Post Road.
This Roman highway was built about 133 B.C.
It is because God knew these seven
were facing patterns of trials, tribulations, errors, dealings, faith,
steadfastness, victories, and triumphs that would be common to all the Lord’s
people down through the entire church age.
The spiritual instructions are, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him
hear what the Spirit saith to the churchES” — PLURAL! Thus the Spirit tells us that every believer should hear
what the Spirit says to ALL the churches!
That is another positive evidence that the seven churches do
not represent seven church ages.
If we are currently living in the Laodicean church age, as many assert,
then we would need to hear only the word sent to the church at Laodicea!
But every overcomer is admonished to hear ALLTHAT
THE LORD SPEAKS TO ALL THE CHURCHES!
Therefore, however much there may be in the seven messages to the seven
churches having applicability to the seven churches existing in John’s day, or
the church in previous times and generations, the messages must be considered in
relation to the complete church
throughout the age. The messages
are prophetic! They are to the whole church realm of yesterday, today, and
tomorrow! The seven churches
represent not only the conditions existing at the time John wrote, but
conditions which may be expected to reveal themselves in the midst of the
Lord’s people throughout the entire age.
That is precisely why that, out of all the churches existing in John’s
day, exactly seven were chosen for
this Revelation — the number of totality
The key to
all the mysteries of the book of Revelation is found in the very first chapter,
where the occasion of the writing of the book, by whom it was dictated, and for
whom it is intended, is made crystal clear.
It was given to John by the angel of Jesus Christ — by the Holy Spirit
— to be sent to the seven churches.
The seven churches represent the complete
church. The key to all the
mysteries of the book of Revelation is — THE CHURCH!
The church is — THE CALLED-OUT! The
book of Revelation is therefore the unveiling of Christ’s wonderful,
marvelous, awesome dealings with every saint of God whom He is calling
out! If God is calling you out
of any realm of the world, or the religious, my brother, my sister, you may
expect to experience within yourself all the things written in this book!
“He that hath an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit saith unto the churches”
(Rev. 2:7). “Blessed are your
eyes for they see, and your ears, for
they hear” (Mat. 13:16).
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear
the words of this prophecy” (Rev. 1:3). When
the Lord Jesus wanted His disciples to realize they could understand His words
only because God had opened their ears,
He used this expression. Our Lord
uses this phrase seven times in the
book of Revelation! The seven
churches with all their virtues and problems represent different spiritual states or conditions
in the whole church realm. What
these churches did right before the Lord we are called to do, and what they did
wrong we must abandon, asking God to purge and purify us from it.
These churches represent for us the progressive way to the throne of God;
for the final promise to the overcomer in these churches is that to him it will
be given to reign with Christ upon HIS THRONE.
As each of us overcomes spiritually within ourselves all that these
churches faced, we receive the greatest reward of all — His mind, likeness,
nature, glory, and power!
The meaning of the names of the cities in which the seven churches were
located have a special and prophetic significance.
Asia itself, for instance, means slime
or mire, an apt type of the world, of
sin and death, of the carnal mind and Adamic nature, and the false religious
realms out of which we have been called! Ephesus
means desired or desirable,
a term applied by a lover to the woman of his choice.
Smyrna means myrrh, a symbol of
sorrow, suffering, and death, an apt picture of the trials, troubles, and
tribulations through which we are passing on our journey into perfection. Pergamos means marriage,
elevation, or firm union, and
truly each of us is married to, and in firm union with, either the flesh or the
spirit! The meaning of Thyatira is incense,
bespeaking of the outflow of grace, praise, and worship through our lives.
Sardis means remnant or escaping
ones, signifying that God is always bringing out a remnant unto His
purposes. Philadelphia means brotherly
love. Laodicea conveys the idea
of the people’s right, the people’s
judgment, or the people’s choice,
expressing the negative aspect of the rule
of the flesh and the carnal mind of which the Lord says, “I am about to spew you out of my mouth.” Those
who overcome in this realm are
qualified to REIGN WITH CHRIST ON HIS THRONE! None of these names are irrelevant, for they were chosen by
divine wisdom to speak to us of the great works of God in the lives of His
elect! The church at this city or that indicates the Lord’s people who are at
that particular stage in their growth, development, and overcoming in Christ!
One may be at the stage of
suffering, another at the stage of
the offering up of spiritual incense,
while others are at the stage of brotherly
love, and many are at the place
of choosing between their rights, their
ways, their will — and HIS!
spiritual condition in these churches and their standing with God varied
greatly. We may be sure that the
messages sent by Jesus to these churches applied to each of them personally, yet
we may be equally certain that the messages were prophetic and were intended to
portray the spiritual condition of the church throughout the age, and indeed our
very own circumstances and experiences!
If the things written therein were simply literal and intended to address
actual events and conditions in the churches of that day, then it would be
difficult to see how they could serve as “signs” and “symbols” (Rev.
1:1). Ingenuously seven actual
Asiatic churches were selected by the Holy Spirit in which were found the traits
which have been used by the Lord to prophetically set forth His dealings with
the church as a whole and within each of the Lord’s called out elect
individually. Oh, the wonder of it!
Oh, the mystery of it!
Thus we see
Christ, the very spirit of Christ within each of us, walking in the midst of the
churches as Judge, with eyes as a
flame of fire, searching the thoughts and intents of the hearts of all the
called out ones, inquiring how far each of us has answered to, or departed from,
our heavenly privileges and potentialities. The Lord passes sentence on what He finds, approving what is
right and condemning all that is contrary to His nature; warning as regards the
evil, and giving encouragement and strength to the overcomer!
It is within that the Christ is
walking, and it is within that the
judgment is taking place!
Let me illustrate. God
dwells in our spirit. Our spirit is
the Most Holy Place typified by the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle of Moses.
God in His glory dwelt in the Most Holy Place of old, over the mercy
seat, between the Cherubim. Now,
“He that is joined to the Lord is one
spirit.” There is the
fullness of God in the Most Holy Place of our spirit!
In the words of the Lord to the Laodicean church, we see a remarkable
picture of God coming out of the Most Holy Place to fill all realms.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says the Lord.
“If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him,
and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).
This has traditionally been understood in the light of the pictures men
have painted of Jesus standing at the outside of a door, knocking, to gain
admittance. The preachers have preached that Jesus is on the outside of
the Laodicean church, standing at the door, knocking, trying to get inside the church!
however, is not outside the church,
not even the lukewarm Laodicean church! If
He were on the outside, it would not be
His church! The church is the very
house of God and the temple of the Holy Ghost!
(II Cor. 6:16). The body of
Christ is the residence of the spirit
of Christ, else it ceases to be His
body! Nothing can be simpler
than that. Matters not how weak,
how sick, how carnal, Christ is never
on the outside of any child of God! I
do not doubt that many who read these lines are convinced that He is outside
some of the churches you know — and He indeed IS outside the systems of man. But the
church is composed of people,
not the systems of Babylon they are held captive in.
Ah, Christ is in your spirit,
in the deepest and innermost part of your being, knocking to gain admittance
into the outer departments of your life, into your soul
and into your body.
He longs to enter into your soul and into your body in the fullness of
Himself that He may fill and transform your whole being with the glory of
His presence and the power of His life!
John was one of the “three mighties” who walked with the Lord in the
days of His flesh; he was with Him in the Mount, he lay in His bosom and, above
all others, has received the distinctive title as “that disciple whom the Lord
loved.” It was fitting that the
man who had leaned upon the breast of God’s Son and heard the inmost beating
of His heart, should become the depository of His most intimate thought in
respect to the course of the church in this age.
And such is the case! This
is the picture we see in the book of Revelation.
The seven churches of Asia are saluted by John.
He was shown the seven candlesticks “which ARE the seven churches.”
God raised up a prophet that could see and foretell in detail the entire
church age before it could transpire. This
is what the messages to the seven churches are all about!
John beheld the good and the evil of the church age.
He declared the blessings and the curses of this age. He saw the strength and the weakness of the church, and
indeed of each one of us. He saw
the church in its beginnings and in its consummation.
He beheld the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ and he exposed the
false church systems, the swaggering harlot of this age with her unholy spirit,
her false doctrines, her man-made organizations, and her carnal methods and
programs. John shows forth the full
revelation of all the fullness of Christ and His church during the age and the
glory that should follow!
A tremendous revelation was given to the beloved John on Patmos!
The seven churches that he saw in the Spirit represent THE WHOLE CHURCH
REALM THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CHURCH AGE. If
you want to know what the church is like, look at the seven churches!
There you have the divinely inspired portrait of the church realm painted
by the brush strokes of the Holy Spirit. Were
they not imperfect, carnal, childish, idolatrous, heretical, rebuked — a realm
of mixture and duality? The Lord
commends and praises them on one hand, while warning and rebuking them on the
other hand! Some of the saints are
praised for their works, labor, faith and love, while others are warned of
impending judgment if they fail to repent.
These seven churches reveal the true state and condition of the whole
church throughout the age, and both history and personal experience testify
conclusively that John was shown aright! Who
can dispute it? The early church
was a church of mixture and duality — flesh and spirit, truth and error, law
and grace, spirituality and carnality. Even
a casual perusal of the New Testament reveals this!
And from that day to this, make no mistake about it — ALL CHURCHES HAVE
BEEN THE SAME! They are today!
There is a
church in El Paso, Texas. There is
only one church in El Paso.
I belong to that church. I
have not joined any of the denominations or movements of men, but I belong to
the church in El Paso because I live in El Paso and Christ has
a church in this city. I cannot
escape it! I could deny that I
belong to it, but that would not change anything.
People tell me they have come out of the church.
It is impossible to come out of
the church unless you are severed from Christ, for the church is His body! And if you have come out of the systems of men you
are still the church because that is what the church is — THE CALLED OUT!
Now let me tell you something about the church in El Paso.
It is a carnal church!
Oh, it has some spiritual people
in it, alright, but the church in El Paso is a carnal church.
How do I know? Whereas one
says, “We are of Luther,” and another says, “We are Baptist,” and
another says, “We are Pentecostal,” and yet another says, “We are of
Christ,” are they not carnal and walk as men? (I Cor. 3:1-4).
And should the church age continue for another thousand years the church
would not have changed — the revelation of the seven candlesticks immutably
declares it! The seven candlesticks
are the seven churches! The
seven churches are the whole,
complete church! And the condition of the seven churches is the condition of the church throughout the age!
Only the overcomer changes.
And only the overcomer receives
the promises! Very little is
promised to the churches. The
great, heavenly, and eternal promises are made to the overcomer alone!
It was once a mystery to me why the Lord would symbolize the church
in its condition of weakness, immaturity, and carnality by seven
“golden” candlesticks. Gold is
the symbol of deity or the divine
nature. How could gold serve as
the figure for a realm of mixture, for the gold of the candlestick was pure gold — unmixed! This
was a deep mystery in my mind. Then
one day the Spirit of the Lord spoke within me and it came with such clarity and
with great power! The church is not
composed of so many bodies sitting on pews.
We do not have a church simply because a number of saved people have
gathered together. Oh, no!
The church is a thing of the spirit.
It is the “city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” and the “general assembly and church of the
firstborn which are written in heaven”
and the “spirits of just men made
perfect” (Heb. 12:22-23). It is
God in my spirit that makes me the
body of Christ! I may have mixture
in my life, but my regenerated spirit
is pure! My spirit is the very
offspring of God! (Heb. 12:9). He
that is joined to the Lord is one spirit!
(I Cor. 6:17). Christ dwells in my
spirit, and my spirit is the seed of God within me! (I Jn. 3:9). I need no processing in my spirit, although I do need
processing in my soul and body realms.
Let me give you an illustration. In
the world there is a lot of wealth, an incomprehensible amount of wealth.
The natural resources of this earth are mind-boggling.
And yet, is it not a fact that in the midst of all the riches of this
marvelous planet we’re living on there are literally billions of people living
in poverty! In most of the
countries of the world millions of people live in squalor, ignorance, disease,
limitation, and servitude — yet the earth is abundant in wealth. There’s
gold in the vast oceans of the earth, but it’s so diluted that it’s unusable
to the normal person. There are
treasures that are buried in the sea, but there have been only a few of
earth’s inhabitants that have been able to bring up those stout Spanish
galleons with their marvelous treasures, and recover them.
There is gold on strange planets in distant galaxies, but nature is too
intractable, the distances are too vast, and the human lifespan so short that
men are unable to go and secure it.
different things would be if only we had gold mines that were very close to us,
that were near at hand, that were accessible to us, and convenient! How different things would be for some of us if we knew we
had a gold mine in our backyard, perhaps concealed behind the rose bushes,
unknown to our neighbors, and unknown to the government.
How secure we would feel if on a summer evening we could chat with our
neighbors over the fence, water our lawn, and play ball with our children
knowing that when the sun sank below the horizon we could sneak out under the
cover of night and mine a little bit of the gold out of our private gold mine at
the edge of our house, behind the rose bushes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful when income tax time came, if we
didn’t have to worry about anything? Just
slip out in our mine and get a few nuggets the size of walnuts!
Or when there was a tragedy, a hospital bill, an unexpected expense, or
whatever might come we could just get a few bags of gold dust out of our gold
mine and pay those bills. Or perhaps we want to travel to far away places with
strange-sounding names, but we don’t have a rich uncle and we haven’t won
the lottery, so we sneak out again and get some gold out of our gold mine, and
we’re able to fly away and go wherever we want to go — travel the earth, see
the sights, live like a king, with no lack or limitations whatsoever.
Oh, how delightful that would be!
I’m here to tell you that you have
a gold mine! It’s not beside your
house. It’s not concealed behind
the rose bushes. IT’S IN YOUR SPIRIT! Yes,
my friend, you have a gold mine.
Each person who now reads these lines has a gold mine and it’s closer
to you than the air that you breathe, closer even than the blood that courses
through your veins. The gold mine that you possess is GOD in your spirit!
The infinite resources of divinity dwell within your spirit!
All the power of the omnipotent Creator is in your spirit!
The omniscient mind that framed the galaxies abides in your spirit!
All the riches of the glory, wisdom, knowledge, righteousness, joy, and
peace of the almighty Father are rooted in your spirit!
God is incorruptible, immortal life; indestructible light, and infinite
love — and God is in your spirit!
You are the sons and daughters of the Most High God. The very life of God is within you today as your very own
life. In that life which you
are there is no limitation whatever. Now
I am aware that even in “kingdom” circles we often find very little
difference in where people are living experientially than we find anywhere else
in the world. Many of us have been
struggling in our spiritual life, and we have been struggling because we have
not understood the work and reality of God, the way of God in our lives. Our struggle has been with the earth realm, with the carnal
mind, the flesh nature. We have
contended with our apparent weakness and limitation.
We have wrestled with pressures from the world around us.
We have felt condemned by our mistakes, failures, and errors, and have
tried to climb up out of the pit that we perceive ourselves in, endeavoring to
extricate ourselves by self-effort, to somehow overcome and evolve out of that
world we have been held captive in, to ascend into the realm God has apprehended
All the time of our spiritual poverty
we have had a gold mine hidden within us!
We have the full power of overcoming life right within our spirit!
Paul put it this way: “And if Christ be in
you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of
righteousness. If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell
in you, He that raised up Christ from
the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:10-11).
Your spirit is much deeper than your mind, your emotion, or your will.
Deep down on the inside of you, where your true life dwells, you are a
spiritual being, a divine being, a truly God-being.
That is where you are alive! “The
spirit is life.” That is where
you are pure and righteous! That is
where you do not sin, neither can
you sin! (I Jn. 3:9). That
is where Christ in you is your hope of glory!
Your body (outer man) is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive
because of Christ’s righteousness within it.
Once you know where life really is, you have discovered the gold mine
within! LIFE IS IN YOUR SPIRIT!
What is true in your spirit is who and what “you” truly are!
When you get beyond the flesh, to the gold mine deep behind the rose
bushes, you begin to draw your resources out of the vast, limitless gold mine of
the life, power, and victory within your spirit.
You begin to function out of your spirit instead of out of your mind,
emotions, and passions. Soul and
body can then be brought to line up with the life that is deep on the inside of
you; you will find that your body which has been dead in trespasses and sins of
the flesh will begin to change.
“He shall also quicken your mortal bodies by
His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” How
true that is! That is the way
of life! Where your soul once demanded its own way and its own rights
of selfhood and self-expression, it now cries out for righteousness and reality.
Your body and soul will control you unless your spirit quickens them.
You can be a Christian for a hundred years, but if you have not learned
to live out of the gold mine of your spirit, soul and body will still manifest
themselves through you, setting themselves up as lord.
Do we really know what is on the inside of us?
We have within us, within our spirit, the uncreated, indestructible,
immortal, omnipotent life of God! Soul
and body will con you, they will delude, deceive, mislead, bamboozle, hoodwink,
cheat, and swindle you! They will
trick you into living a natural, carnal, deficient or ungodly life, until you
have a revelation and realization of the riches of the heavenly life down on the
inside of you. Once you get down
beneath the surface, under the house, behind the rose bushes, to live out of the
secret springs of life in the spirit — you will discover life, and that more
Most believers live this dual life, this split personality existence.
Sometimes they think and act out of the spirit, while at other times they
function out of their outward natural life.
Does that mean they are not the Lord’s people or the body of Christ?
Not at all! Christ lives in
every regenerated spirit! We are
His by redemption and Christ dwells in our hearts by faith.
This explains why the “golden” candlesticks had so many problems and
were chastened by the Lord! Because
He has bought us by His blood and quickened us by His life in our spirit, we are
His people, His body, His church, His out-called ones.
Therefore we are called “golden” candlesticks although we are not yet
righteous or perfect in all of our thoughts, attitudes, or actions in our outer
Truly we are the Lord’s “holy” people even though we may not yet be
perfectly conformed to the image of the Son.
Let me explain! To be holy
means to be sanctified. To sanctify
means TO SET APART or TO SEPARATE. The
word is applied to people, places, and things — as Sinai among the mountains;
the Sabbath among the days of the week; the Temple among all buildings; the city
of Jerusalem among the cities of Israel; the Priesthood of Levi among all the
tribes of Israel; and Israel among all the nations of the earth.
For example, the Lord Jesus shows us that gold, if used for the Temple,
as a gift, when placed on the altar, becomes sanctified or holy (Mat. 23:17-19).
All the gold in this world is for human use and is therefore common;
however, if a portion is separated and placed in the Temple for God’s use, it
becomes classified as holy, set apart. Again,
if an ox or a sheep is among the herd, they are for human use and are common.
When chosen and placed upon the altar, however, they become an offering
unto God, being separated unto holiness. It
is altogether a matter of whether they are for ordinary use or whether they are
separated and belong to God. Before
they are separated, they are common; after they are separated, they become holy.
Therefore holiness means all that pertains to God, and all that is of
God, unto God, and for God!
But beyond this there is a deeper thought.
Why were people, places, and things set apart? Was it not because GOD WAS THERE? He came down in might and glory on mount Sinai; therefore
they needed to set the bounds around its base, and it is known as “the holy
mount of God.” It was His
presence that made it holy! He
selected Israel to be His peculiar people, and the house of Aaron to be His
priests, and the royal line of Judah to be His kings; therefore
they were isolated from all others. He
appeared to Moses in the bush, glowing with the light of the Shekinah; therefore
the spot was holy ground, and the shepherd needed to bare his feet.
In other words, it is the presence of God that makes holy!
There is only one Being in all the universe who is intrinsically holy.
Holiness is the attribute of His nature, and of His nature only. He is by nature, wisdom, power and being set apart from all
beside. So we can never be holy
apart from God; but when God enters the spirit of man, He brings the quality of
holiness with Him. Thus the
presence of God in man IS HOLINESS. HE
is our only hope of righteousness!
reform our carnal mind or Adamic nature. It
doesn’t work! Only by the
overwhelming presence of God in our lives can body and soul be brought into
union with the nature of God in our spirit.
Laws, rules, regulations, condemnation don’t change anything.
That is why we say to every man, to every person who has a sin
consciousness or a sin problem —
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD! We
could try to get them to do better, we could lay laws upon them and tell them
they can’t be a follower of Jesus and do the things they do, we could cast
them out of our fellowship until they straighten up and do right, but that would
not help them at all. We must help
them find their gold mine! The gold
mine is the presence of God in their
spirit. That is where life is! People don’t
need condemnation — they need help!
“GOD is our help.” The help of God is within the gold mine of God’s presence
and life within the spirit of every man! Only
the presence of God can make us holy! Salvation is wholly of God.
The High Calling is wholly of God. Sonship
is wholly of God. Priesthood is
wholly of God. Immortality and
eternal life are wholly of God. Perfection
is wholly of God. “Ye shall
therefore be holy for I AM HOLY” (Lev. 11:45) is a statement of fact, rather
than a call to become a “good” person in word and deed.
We are separated unto God by His life in our spirit, and only by yielding
to His life within does holiness become revealed through the totality of our
This brings us to a truth that is at the same time both wonderful and
dreadful. The seven churches in the
book of Revelation had all kinds of problems, yet they were “golden”
candlesticks and Christ walked “in the midst” of them in terrible glory! You see, we are prone to look back on the early church through “rose-colored glasses,” seeing only the
ideal, the positive, and the good. Many
preachers are trying to build up a “New Testament Church,” to reproduce the
exact order they see in the churches in the days of the first apostles.
Some even tell us that we can’t make it into sonship unless we are submitted
under the ministry of a “New Testament Church.”
They haven’t thought this through!
Do they really want to
reproduce the New Testament Church? When
you do that, here is what you get! By
the mid-50’s AD, the Galatian churches were steeped in doctrinal error.
The Ephesians struggled with the bondage of the law.
Even the Philippians, the fruit of Paul’s most successful labors, were
marred by selfish ambition and disunity. The
Colossian church was overrun with heresies and legalism.
The Thessalonians, as stunning as their conversions were, yet were beset
by outbreaks of immorality and apocalyptic fanaticism.
The Corinthians had experienced the most dramatic manifestation of the
power and gifts of the Spirit, yet notwithstanding this, they had profound
problems with sexual perversion and moral misconduct, false doctrines,
drunkenness from an excess of wine right in the meetings at communion, and total
confusion and chaos in the manifestations of the gifts!
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful “New Testament Church” to reproduce!
The fact is, ALL churches ARE already New Testament Churches without
trying to reproduce anything! The
portrait of all churches is graphically drawn by the pencil strokes of the Holy
Spirit in the seven churches of Asia!
Can we not see by this that the work of the Holy Spirit is always perfect
in its origins, however the vessels through whom and upon whom the Spirit moves
are often flawed and broken, and capable of the most grievous of sins and errors and
extremes. THIS IS THE PICTURE OF
THE SEVEN CHURCHES! Let us UNDERSTAND! The church has not been a perfect realm, just as none of us
have been perfect. The candlestick realm is the vehicle
of our overcoming!
The seven churches represent for us the progressive way to the throne of
God! God has deliberately put us in
an imperfect church as a training ground for overcomers!
This is God’s school! As
each member of God’s called and chosen elect overcomes spiritually within
himself all that these churches represent, we truly become qualified to receive
the promises and finally REIGN WITH CHRIST UPON HIS THRONE!
Sonship is via the church!
I’m not talking about the organized systems of men called
churches, I’m talking about our living relationship with Christ in an
imperfect state! Actually we travel
through the churches, overcoming first in one area, then in another, until we
have overcome within ourselves all that the churches represent. When we have
overcome in one God “calls us out” unto the next.
The seven churches are seven stages
of our out-calling from realm to realm
until we are perfected in the image of Jesus Christ to stand in the fullness of
the mind, nature, will, glory, and power of God!
Have the flaws in your own character, my beloved, been magnified in your
eyes until you despair of ever attaining to the High Calling of God in Christ
Jesus? Today I point you to CHRIST
THE HEALER. Think not for one
moment that Jesus Christ is the healer only of diseases of the body!
He has come to cleanse His church, to sanctify and purify His elect, to
purge and refine and make every whit whole His children called to be sons.
I declare to you today that HE IS THE HEALER AND PERFECTER OF HIS FAMILY.
He purges out of His kingdom all things that defile and offend. Listen! The
great and wonderful mercy of the Christ receives all who have blemishes, and His
power heals all who walk with Him in the light of His presence.
Have you received the call to sonship?
Then be of good cheer! “And
the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved without
blemish unto the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23).
If we are to be cleansed, healed, made whole and preserved without
blemish there is only one way, and that is shown in the verse that immediately
follows the one quoted above: “Faithful is HE that calleth you, WHO ALSO WILL
DO IT.” What a word!
We have now come to the close of the church age and God is ready to change
the order. The hour has arrived
for the manifestation of the sons of God
gathered out of the church age, and the rule of the kingdom of God over the
nations. That which God is bringing
forth for the next age will be perfect, it will be sinless, deathless, and
gloriously victorious! There will
be no weakness or failure in all of God’s holy mountain! The sons of God shall not go out with power to heal the sick,
cast out devils, and do signs and wonders, but with no power to be honest, pure,
and holy. You won’t have to worry
about them swindling you out of your money, seducing your wife, being caught in
some homosexual act, lying, cheating, deceiving, swelling up with pride and
pompousness like a frog, manipulating the Lord’s sheep for their own profit,
or building another tower of Mystery Babylon around their ministry.
God won’t do it that way this
You can have imperfect apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and
teachers, and imperfect Christians, but you can’t have IMPERFECT MANIFESTED
SONS OF GOD! Sons of God won’t
carry on their cars the bumper sticker that proclaims, “I’m not perfect — just forgiven!” If
God were to give unlimited power into the hands of men with character flaws,
imperfect lives, and corrupt hearts, they would become the most despicable race
of devils, monsters, and tyrants the world has ever known.
They would wreck the kingdom of God in short order and creation would
never be set free. But God is
preparing a people in this hour to receive kingdom
power and authority. He is
preparing our hearts, purifying our souls, cleansing our motives, changing our
desires, raising up grace and truth and righteousness in our inward parts.
Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give
you the kingdom! He will finish His
work and cut it short in righteousness!
To be continued… J.
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