Revelation of Hope Week 8 – The Church of Philadelphia

Revelation of Hope


Week 8

Rob Covell


Introduction –

In this Session we will continue in Revelation 3 and study the Letter to the Church of Philadelphia. Jesus did not give this church any correction, but gave them promises of deliverance from trials, and 4 eternal spiritual promises that are staggering in scope. The Lord always gives the most lavish gifts and graces to His children.

Below is some background on ancient Philadelphia that will help us see this letter in the context of those who received it.

  1. Located in Modern Day Turkey about 50 miles inland on a low sloping hill, in the Hermus Valley, Philadelphia was founded in 189BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamum. He named the city in honor of his brother would be his successor, as he had no heir. King Eumenes II was nicknamed “the one who loves his brother” (Philadelphia).
  2. This city was is very similar in culture to Sardis, as it was located on the same trade route, and was known for being the epicenter of Emperor Worship. The city coins had the inscription NEOKORON – which means “keeper of the temple”. The city suffered significant damage by an earthquake in AD17, and was given aid by Tiberius. In return they honored him with a temple. At the time that Revelation was given to the Church of Philadelphia, it was a prosperous wine grape growing region. The cult of Dionysus revolved around the wine industry.
  3. There was a sizable Jewish population there in the First Century that persecuted the Church of Philadelphia. Christianity at this time was considered a Jewish Messianic heresy, and was still not entirely distinct or separated from Judaism. It is important to keep in mind that the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing and that the Church and Temple stood side by side for about 40 years, and preached competing messages. The Church was preaching a New Covenant in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the Jewish people who rejected Jesus as Messiah, preached the continuance of the Old Covenant. These were polar opposite understandings of the Scriptures, and were the fuel for persecution. We see these persecutions  in Acts 19, Acts 4, Acts 7, Acts 8, Acts 13:50, Acts 14:19, Acts 17:5, Acts 18:6, Acts 21:27, Acts 23, Acts 25:7
  4. The Church of Philadelphia was prosperous from the First Century to Medieval Times. There are still many Orthodox Christians there today. The city is now called Alaşehir.

Revelation 3:7

  1. Words of Him who is holy and true – Greek – ALĒTHINOS – that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine – George Eldon Ladd in his Commentary on the Revelation of John, says the corresponding Hebrew thought is “One who keeps Covenant Forever”.
  2. Jesus holds the Key of David, as He is the prophesied Branch from the root of Jesse, and is the Messianic King promised to David. Jesus’ genealogy is from the Tribe of Judah, and from the House of David. It is important that the genealogy of Jesus was the ONLY genealogy that survived the destruction of the Temple because it was preserved in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The complete genealogy of the Tribes of Israel was destroyed by fire in AD 70 when the Temple was destroyed.
  3. Jesus quotes Isaiah 22:22. The reference indicates that Jesus possess the authority of David’s Throne as Messiah. Also, in the passage, Eliakim was promoted to be father of the house of Judah over Shebna. The symbolism here is that just as there was a change in the authority to rule, Jesus is the fullness of the change as our Messianic King and High Priest. See Hebrews 7
  4. Just as Eliakim had the authority to open and shut, Jesus is the ultimate authority in terms of opening and shutting. The door represents the ability to enter new spiritual opportunities and the power of the decrees of Jesus create openings for us to walk into these decrees. The Word of God, Jesus, is the Door, and His divine decrees will stand and not be overcome. This would have been very comforting to a church that was being persecuted and accused of being liars because they professed Jesus as Messiah.

Revelation 3:8

  1. Jesus offers the Church of Philadelphia the promise of deliverance, as He gives them an open door into His heat for them. We all overcome through our relationship with Jesus in every time and season. This church receives no rebuke, but only promises from Jesus.
  2. Jesus knows their deeds (ERGON), and understands that they are on the edge of losing strength. This letter to the Philadelphian church was right on time.
  3. “Little power/strength” – MIKROS DUNAMIS –   small – strength, power, ability – In spite of the persecution they did not fall or lapse in faith.
  4. Kept – Greek – TĒREŌ – to attend to carefully, take care of – to guard – These people were rooted and grounded in the Word of Christ. We are always strengthened by the Word of God, and it is the very thing that is sure, unchanging, and possesses power when it is anchored in faith.
  5. Deny – ARNEOMAI – Greek – to deny, to act entirely unlike himself – This church lived like Sons, Priests, a Royal Nation; they did not live outside of their identity in the face of trial and persecution.

Revelation 3:9

  1. The Jewish persecution of Christians in ancient Philadelphia revolved around the accusation that there were not God’s people, and were Covenant Breakers.
  2. Jesus endured this same persecution from the unbelieving Jews. John 8:42-44 – Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
  3. Romans 2:28-29 – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
  4. Jesus was promising the Christians in Philadelphia that He would defend them and prove that were Children of God, and belonged to God because they believed He was Messiah. How wonderful that Jesus is the One who defends our love for Him, and will vindicate all attacks on our faith in Him.
  5. Fall down and acknowledge “I have loved you”, with the destruction of the Temple in AD70, God confirmed the New Covenant, and put away the Old Covenant (See Hebrews). God loves His Bride, the Church.
  6. Lastly we see a cultural play on words. Many times in the Old Testament, the Lord promised to humiliate the Gentile nations, see Ezekiel 37:28, and Isaiah 49:23, and Isaiah 60:14 – “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Revelation 3:10

  1. Jesus continues to commend them because they have stayed in faith and have not compromised. Not compromising in our faith is a loud trumpet blast in the spirit realm that shouts triumph and victory over the enemy. This is preaching loudly without words.
  2. Jesus promises to keep them from the hour of trial – Trial – Greek – PEIRASMOS – the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy –
  3. Trial coming to the whole world – Greek – OIKOUMENĒ – the civilized world – the whole of the Roman Empire at that time.
  4. Those who live on the earth – Greek – GE – localized area – usually in connection with the land of Judea – See Matthew 24
  5. During this era there were any trials that the Church endured. There were 10 persecutions against Christianity, and the greatest trial was the Roman invasion of Judea, and the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70.
  6. The practical application that applies to our times, is that there is a level of faith, and endurance that delivers us from mega trials! James 4:7 – Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Revelation 3:11

  1. Coming soon – Greek – ERCHOMAI – Verb – to come
  2. This is not a reference to Jesus’ second coming. He is simply stating He will come to them soon and deliver them from the trial. That is the context of this encouragement from Jesus.
  3. Jesus Christ will returnActs 1:11 -They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”  See Revelation 21 & Revelation 22
  4. The church of Philadelphia had been given crowns – Greek – STEPHANOS – a crown or – a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank – Beloved, we are crowned with His glory, love, grace and blessing because we are a Royal Priesthood – 1 Peter 2:9
  5. Kingdom kids cannot be paupers or beggars because we bear the mark of Kingdom Royalty! Understanding our identity in Jesus will strength us to receive the promises of God. We can only pray and intercede according to our knowledge of God and the measure of faith we possess.

Revelation 3:12-13  

  1. To the one who overcomes will receive 4 promises
  2. Pillar in the Temple of God – 1 Kings 7:21 – Thus he set up the pillars at the porch of the nave; and he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin, and he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz. – Jachin means – He will establish – Boaz means – Fleetness or swift or rapid – to cause or to pass swiftly – to fly
  3. Name of My God – Yahweh – Those who have been given the Name implies close relationship with the Father. This is the Covenant Name of God
  4. Name of the City of My God – New Jerusalem – The natural Jerusalem was going to be destroyed soon, as it was a shadow of a greater reality in which God would dwell with mankind first in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and then in full blown manifestation at Jesus Second Coming. See Revelation 21
  5. Jesus new Name – Revelation 19:16 – KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,
  6. He who has an ear, let him hear – Hebrews 5:14 – But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. – Beloved, the more invest our hearts into His heart we gain the ability to have our spiritual senses heightened!

Source Material:

Michele Murray – Gentile Christians and Judaizing in the First and Second Centuries

  1. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Blue Letter


Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation

George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation

George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom

Loraine Boettner – The Millenium

Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology

Holman Bible Dictionary

Strongs Concordance

NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament

NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament

Jonathan Welton – Raptureless

George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem


Rapture Fever – Gary North

The Prophets Dictionary – Price

Early Christian Martyr Stories – Bryan M. Litfin


Kings and Priests – The Expansion of the Kingdom – Luke 10

Kings and Priests
The Expansion of the Kingdom
Rob Covell

In the previous Sessions we looked at what Reformation looks like when the Kingdom of God touches every realm of culture in Acts 19 (Ephesus). We also looked at the Culture of the Kingdom, as culture is the very thing that defines a people.

In this Session we will look at the expansion of the Kingdom, the call of the Kingdom, and the Authority of the Kingdom in Luke 10. The Church of Jesus Christ is promised the Dominion and Victory over everything that opposes it. We need a paradigm of encouragement, faith and success in regards to things that God asks us to accomplish.

Luke 10:1-2
a) 70 – The number of Divine Authority to Rule and the Completeness of God’s Word. 7 is the sacred number for God’s fullness, and 10 symbolizes the authority of the Lord’s Word in the 10 Commandments. Israel had 70 elders, known as the Sanhedrin to rule and guide Israel and Jesus spoke a total of 70 parables in the Gospels.
b) The significance of Jesus sending 70 others out, other than the 12 communicates to us that the he expansion of the Kingdom was given to others who were not the Apostles; but 70 others whom Jesus knew. This shows us that signs and wonders ministry was not limited to the 12, but given those who were in relationship with Jesus.
c) 2 by 2 – Jesus sends the anointed ahead of Him to every place He is about to go. As we go out, we make room for larger moves of God in wake. Many times we can be the catalyst for revival, even though we are a small number. Many revivals in church history began with a few who were sent! A thing is established by two or more witnesses in the Law. God loves partnership and community.
d) The scope of the harvest is larger than the workers. This tells us that there are more opportunities to display the glory of the Kingdom than we can imagine. God always has vision for things that eclipse our expectations. He is the God that amazes us.
e) Ask the Lord of the Harvest – Greek – Harvest – THERISMOS – the act of reaping – The field is ripe and ready. The world is ready to reap by the Gospel. The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection ripened the world for the Global Gospel. Matt 28
f) Ask – Greek – DEOMAI – ask or beg, desire for, to make supplication – Intercessory prayer releases the resources of workers into the harvest.
g) Workers – Greek – ERGATĒS – worker or agricultural laborer – Labor is focused energy that completes a task.
Luke 10:3-4
a) Sent out like lambs among wolves – This is symbolic language that we walk in the same purity and grace that Jesus the Lamb of God walked in. Lambs were sacrificed to the Lord. Our lives are living sacrifices – Romans 12:1-2 – Lambs among wolves speaks of the evil that exists in the world as it manifests the antichrist spirit. We can expect opposition to our message. However Luke 10:19 promises victory over that which opposes the Kingdom.
b) No purse/money bag – God finances ministry and gives enough provision for the mission. No King sends His emissaries out without the provision needed for the task. Our faith and obedience to the call release the resources. We are not asked to provide for our missions in our own power, but to relay of His resource and prosperity.
c) Bag/Leather Bag of provisions – Jesus was giving the invitation to the 70 to walk in reliance on the Father. This is the dance of trusting the Lord as we walk out our life paths.
d) No shoes – Greek – That which is under the feet tied by a thong – The mission here needed to be walked out in His paths. He gives us beautiful feet to bring good news – Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15
e) Not greeting anyone on the road – Walk out our call and mission without distractions. In the Jewish tradition of the day, one who was on a sacred mission was exempted from civil obligations until the time was completed (Adam Clarke).

Luke 10:5-6
a) We carry the ability to release peace. Peace – Shalom – Peace in everything that our life touches – Greek – EIRĒNĒ – peace between individuals – free from war – national peace – felicity, prosperity, tranquil state of the soul in Messiah – Peace is a hallmark of the Kingdom. God is at rest, and He the realm of His rule contains no chaos, discord, or anxiety.
b) In the common culture, men were defined by their lives. Men were characterized as a “son of” whatever was seen by others. Agreement is the agent of receiving what the Kingdom carries.

Luke 10:7
a) Do not move from house to house – This is committing to those we minister with and to. Many in the Body of Christ fail in faithfulness to others. Commitment to others is servant leadership, and it involves risk and authenticity.
b) The provision of the Lord comes thru those who are ministered to and agree with our call. We are all interconnected as we walk out our callings and ministries, as we are One Body, and Corporately the Body of Christ. Proverbs 14:23 – In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.

Luke 10:8
a) The proof the message is the power of the message. Every Kingdom is expanded by enforcing its rule. Healing the sick is the proof of the Gospel, and it displays that the Kingdom of God is present.
b) Near – Greek – EGGIZŌ – to bring near, to join one thing to another –
c) We walk in spiritual reality that is preeminent, and takes precedent over the inferior qualities of a lesser reality.
d) Healing reveals God’s heart to restore, to bless, and to display His exceptional goodness and grace toward people.

Luke 10:16
a) We carry the same authority as Jesus. Those who reject our message reject the One in us. The eternal destiny of souls is determined by the response to our Kingdom proclamation and the evidence of the Kingdom we represent, which is manifested in healing, signs and wonders.

Luke 10:18-19
a) When we expand the Kingdom we displace the inferior and illegal dominion of satan, as satan stole the dominion mandate given to mankind to rule and reign the earth.
b) Authority – Greek – EXOUSIA – the power of choice – to do as one pleases – the power of authority and the right of privilege – the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)
c) Snakes, and scorpions are symbolic of the enemy – See Mark 16:15-18
d) We are promised to overcome “all power of the enemy”. Defeat is not the language of the Kingdom of God.
A prophetic word to Refuge – 3 Fold Expansion Coming to Refuge Tribe – spiritual expansion, expansion of our house, and financial expansion

Revelation of Hope – Week 7 – Revelation 3:1-6

Revelation of Hope
Week 7
Rob Covell

Introduction –
This week we continue in the Letters to the Seven Churches. We will start in Chapter 3 for this Session and study the Church at Sardis. This church struggled with being tempted to mingle Judaism and Christianity to the point that the grace and truth that are in Jesus Christ was being blurred. Paul fought this theological battle in Galatians. Hebrews also clearly confronts the temptation to continue to embrace the Old Covenant to the point where the truth of the New Covenant is lost.

There are 3 very amazing promises offered to those in Sardis who over come. Jesus does not commend this church, but offers this church glory in return for repentance. It is the grace and goodness of God to give us beauty for ashes.

Revelation 3:1
a) Sardis – Located in Modern Turkey 50 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea, and in the middle of the Hermus Valley. In ancient times the region was called Lydia. A King named Croesus made Sardis famous, because of the great wealth from the deposits of Electrum (Alloy of Gold and Silver). Croesus was the first person to produce standardized coinage in history. Sardis means, “red ones”.
b) Cyrus the Persian King – Isaiah 44:28 & 2 Chronicles 36:22 – defeated Croesus. Cyrus freed the Jews in Babylon and was aided the effort to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. See Ezra 5:11-16.
c) Sardis had a sizable Jewish population that is mentioned by the Historian Josephus. This is important to our study, because the Christian Church and Jewish community in Sardis lived side by side. Sardis had the largest synagogue in the ancient world. Many church historians note that the Christian Church was deeply influenced by the Circumcision Movement mentioned in Acts 15 and addressed directly in Galatians and Hebrews, and struggled with what church historians call Jewish/Christian Syncretism. It is important to understand that at this time, the Christian Church was considered a Jewish Heresy and the New Covenant and the Old Covenant (Temple) co-existed for about 40 years.
d) The famous theologian and the first leader of the Church in Sardis after the Apostolic Era. It is said that Melito knew the Apostle John, although this cannot be substantiated. Melito kept many Jewish customs including Passover, Sabbath, and stayed true to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the Passover Calendar. Melito wrote about this in his famous Paschal Homily. Melito also was a forerunner in the explaining the Hypostatic Union (Jesus is fully divine and fully Man). Melito probably was not born when the church of Sardis received the Revelation, but would have been the next generation of leaders to succeed those who did.
a) Jesus identifies Himself as the One who holds the Seven Spirits or Sevenfold Spirit – The Sevenfold Spirit or Seven Spirits of God – This is symbolic language for the perfection of the Holy Spirit. 7 the number of perfection or of being complete. What we have here is the typical type and shadow used as description of the Holy Spirit. This type of allegory or symbolism is used throughout the Revelation. See Isaiah 11:1-3 – Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes forth from the Father and Jesus. We see this same reference in Revelation 1:4, Revelation 4:5 and Revelation 5:6.
e) Jesus holds the seven stars – See Revelation 1:20 – The seven stars are the seven angels of the churches being addressed in the letters to the seven churches. Whether these are Pastors/Leaders of these churches, or whether they are spiritual messenger angels, is not important. What is important is that Jesus holds His messengers in his hand. It is comforting to know that we are gripped in the loving hands of Jesus. Held in the nail scarred hands of salvation, eternally secure. Those who have His Word are held in His hands.
f) I know your deeds – The word for deeds in Greek is ERGON – business, employment, that which one is occupied by. The church of Sardis was busy in works. From the outward appearance they looked alive by their works, but the true condition of the church at Sardis was spiritual death. Greek – NEKRON – one who has breathed his last – devoid of animate life – Metaphor: spiritually dead.
g) Galatians teaches us that the Law was good, but it could not bring life. Galatians 2: Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
h) The consensus among church historians is that the church at Sardis was compromising their faith by religious works of the Law like the Galatian heresy.

Revelation 3:2
a) Wake up! Greek – GRĒGOREŌ – to watch – metaph. – give strict attention to, be cautious, active – to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one. Jesus is sounding the trumpet of alarm. This is a loud shout to the Bride. Jesus is faithful and communicates His heart in any way possible for His Bride to hear.
b) Strengthen what remains – Greek –STERIZO – to make stable – to set in place. Deeds that make us complete are belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Belief and faith require a response. When Jesus addressed the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10, He told him to sell all his possessions. Selling the possessions would not save him, but selling them would prove the condition of his heart in regards to having faith in Jesus and accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.
c) In the sight of – The motives of our hearts are open books before the gaze of the Father.

Revelation 3:3
a) Remember – Greek – MNĒMONEUŌ- to be mindful of – to think of and feel for a person or thing – Remembering our testimonies, the mercies of God in our lives, and our histories in God are the guardians of our faith. These things increase thanksgiving and gratefulness to the Lord.
b) The church at Sardis received the grace of God in the Person of Jesus, and heard about the great works of His love. G. Davis Dean, in his book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, writes that there were some in the Christian community of Sardis who so comingled their faith that they were admonished for swearing oaths in the synagogues, and seeking rabbis for healing rituals.
c) Repentance is changing our minds to agree with God, and move in the direction of His destiny for us. Repentance is not only about overt sin, but can also pertain to the choices we make every day that lead us either into destiny or out of destiny.
d) Jesus coming like a thief – Many of us have been lead to believe this is speaking about His return. Jesus certainly does return. However this is a play on words. Alfred Edersheim quotes the Talmud, “those who were sleeping on the Temple watch and were caught doing so were beat and had their garments burned. The Captain of the Guard was the “thief in the night” who came in the night watches to verify that all was secure.” Jesus is giving a warning not be caught off guard, and sleeping in regards to the truth of gospel. This was common idiom in Jewish Culture, and the church of Sardis having deeply Jewish roots than the other churches in Asia Minor would have understood this clearly.
e) Those of us that are in faith and know Jesus will not be surprised or caught off guard at His Second Coming. We will rejoice and welcome Him. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”!

Revelation 3:4-5
a) Those who have not soiled their clothes/mantle or cloak. The covering/clothes, speaks of what is visible others in regards to our faith in Jesus. The inner conditions of our heart are displayed by the life we live.
b) Jesus promises that those who overcome will receive 3 things. We are overcomers by our new natures in Jesus Christ.
c) Walk with Him – Walking with Jesus is synonymous with being in agreement and being close to Him.
d) Dressed in White – Is being covered in the purity and sanctification that He imparts to His people.
e) Confessed before the Father and His angels – How wonderful to know that we will not be denied by Jesus. He says He would never leave us or forsake us. He is our High Priest, Intercessor, and Deliverer.

Revelation 3:6
a) Spiritual ears are the ability hear supernatural or spiritual truth and comprehend it. Having the ability to have supernatural or spiritual senses are possible for all Christians because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Source Material:
Michele Murray – Gentile Christians and Judaizing in the First and Second Centuries
G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price
Early Christian Martyr Stories – Bryan M. Litfin
Jewish Synagogue Excavations/Sardis –

Kings and Priests The Culture of the Kingdom – Part 2

Kings and Priests
The Culture of the Kingdom – Part 2
Rob Covell

This we continue in our series Kings and Priests with part 2 of the Culture of the Kingdom. As I mentioned in Session 1, a culture is that which defines a people, a nation, their values, customs and the expression of their identities as members of that culture.

To walk in sustained revival and reformation, we need to build in a Kingdom Culture in our daily lives and in Refuge Community to point where we are defined by a spiritual culture that transcends to common culture in which we live.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

My declaration over Refuge Community is that we will walk in the authority, identity, the miracles, signs and wonders, the Gifts of the Spirit, and radical pursuit of God, to point where we reform the expression of Christianity.

Matthew 5:6
a) Blessed – Greek – MAKARIOS – blessed, happy – The thought being communicated here is that we have prosperity of soul that flows from divine favor over your life. Genesis 1:28 – BARAK – to have divine favor spoken over you.
b) Hunger – Greek – PEINAŌ – To be hungry, to suffer want – to be needy – metaph. to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire – Jesus is using this metaphorically to describe one who is seeking to be acceptable to the Lord. The word for righteousness in the Greek is dikaiosynē (dē-kī-o-sü’-nā) – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God. This is a decision of heart to walk in relationship/covenant with God. It not religious striving, ritual, or asceticism. Jesus is encouraging us to be engaged in the pursuit of our God.
c) To thirst – Greek – DIPSAŌ – to suffer thirst, suffer from thirst – figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened – Jesus is saying we should be eager to be in the state of being in relationship with God and eagerly desire the things which refresh the soul.
d) The promise for the pursuit of the Holy One is to be satisfied – Greek CHORTAZŌ – to fulfill or satisfy the desire of any one. Beloved many of us are in the pursuit of things that we believe are destiny and will satisfy us. The satisfaction of knowing our destinies and being satisfied with our lives begin with the pursuit of the Man, Jesus Christ. Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
e) We need to believe that pursuing God is delightful. May I propose to you that walking with God is great pleasure and is highly pleasing?

Matthew 5:7
a) Merciful – This same word is used in Hebrews 2:17 in the context of Jesus being a merciful High Priest. Hebrews 2:17 – Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
b) Being merciful is the ability to extend forgiveness and walk in compassion. Jesus extended mercy to us by Cross, and those of us who have experienced that mercy can not only receive that mercy but give it away. We can only give away what we have experienced and obtained.
c) Our promise here is receiving mercy from God. The word in the Greek – ELEEŌ – it is a verb, that means “experiencing mercy”. We can only experience mercy by experiencing the goodness of God. This is the essence of the Christian gospel.

Matthew 5:8
a) Pure in heart – Greek – KATHAROS – Physically – purified by fire, or a vine pruned so that it will bear fruit – Ethically – free from corruption, guilt, sin, shame, and mixture/division of the heart in things pertaining to God. This same word is used John 15, where Jesus tells His disciples they were clean because of His word spoken to them.
b) The love and acceptance of the Father comes to us through Jesus Christ. His blood makes us clean, free from guilt, and shame. Ephesians 1:7 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
c) Our promise is that we would see God. Greek – HORAŌ – to see with your eyes, perceive with your mind, to know, to experience, to become acquainted with by experience.

Matthew 5:9
a) Peacemakers – The thought here is that those that love peace will experience “sonship” in God. When we walk in peace we reflect our Father in heaven. We will be called “sons of God”. What an amazing thing to be identified with as a son of God, and be called that by others.
b) When we walk in peace we are following the ancient path of God. God orchestrated peace to world by giving the world His Son.
c) The Hebrew word SHALOM – is an encompassing peace; peace with God, peace with mankind, peace in our inner man (well being).
d) Possessing the promise of being a son of God implies that we receive the benefit of sons. Galatians 3:26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. The benefits of being sons – Rights of Inheritance, carrying the Name, sons bring honor to the family, having the blessing of the Father.

Matthew 5:10
a) Persecuted for righteousness – The thought here is that one is harassed for being in a state of being acceptable to God.
b) Christians are persecuted in a multidimensional way. We are persecuted in the spiritual sense because we are emissaries of a spiritual Kingdom, and we have a dominion mandate to posses the nations by the preaching of the Gospel (Matthew 28:18 – 20). Ephesians 6:10-18 describes in detail the spiritual warfare that is being waged, but also give the Christian the pathway of defeating all attacks of satan and demons.
c) Christians are also persecuted in natural realm. The prophets in Scripture often stood in direct opposition to the common culture of the generation in which they lived. Just a glance at the Scriptures, the live of the Apostles, church history and the news channels today reveal the spiritual battle manifesting the natural realm.
d) The losses of these battles look like divorce, a corrupted culture, tyranny in politics, war, poverty, crime, and a disregard for God in the culture.
e) The wins of these battles look like prosperity, family, blessing, scientific advancement for the good of humanity, a healthy culture, revival and reformation of the Church, education, renaissance in the arts, and enlightenment in education.
f) The promise for enduring the persecution/pressing is the Kingdom of God. Greek – BASILEIA (bä-sē-lā’-ä) Royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, – not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom – of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah – of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom.
g) Christians are not destined to lose the battle for hearts and nations. The book of Acts is mingled with accounts of suffering for Jesus, but always leading to the manifestation of the Kingdom in the lives of people; so much so that the known civilized world was touched by the gospel in one generation, or within the lifetimes of the Apostles.

A prophetic word to Refuge about destiny being united to the decision of the heart

Revelation of Hope – Week 6 – Revelation 2:18-29

Revelation of Hope
Week 6
Rob Covell

Introduction –
In this session we will continue in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2, and study the church of Thyatira. This letter highlights the seriousness of spiritual adultery and compromising our faith in Jesus.

The church at Thyatira was encouraged in their deeds, love, ministry, perseverance and their growth in these things. However in the letter to the church of Thyatira, Jesus corrects them with in a way that seems harsh to us, but in the context of the culture of Thyatira we see a clearer picture of what needed to be addressed by the Lord so they might have life.

With great correction, come great promises to the church of Thyatira. They are promised the same authority that Jesus possess and Jesus promises to give it to those who overcome. The church at Thyatira also gets a double promise of revelation and illumination that come from Jesus.

Revelation 2:18
a) Thyatira – Located in modern day Turkey, approximately 50 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It was a border own between Lydia and Mysia. The name Thyatira means, “Daughter” and was named by King Seleucas Nicator, after he was told his wife had given birth to a daughter (290BC).
b) Thyatira was located on a trade route, and was known as a city of commerce. Thyatira is listed as having the most trade guilds of any ancient city of that time. This information will be very helpful to us in understanding the letter to Thyatira. Thyatira was famous for the dyeing of cloth, especially indigo, or purple. Acts 16:13-15, tells us about Lydia, who was from Thyatira, who was a dealer for this type of cloth. Paul and Silas probably ministered there as they traveled through that area. The church of Thyatira played no major roles in church history.
c) Jesus describes Himself in a way that parallels Daniel 10:5-6 – I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.
d) Eyes of blazing fire – Symbolic of Jesus’ passion for His Bride. His eyes burn with desire for His Beloved. Jesus is unmoved in His loving devotion to redeem mankind and have intimate relationship with people. Jesus is passionate for the church of Thyatira, and desires a pure spotless bride.
e) Bronze feet – Bronze is a metal resistance to corrosion, and is a strong alloy. The bronze is a symbol of Jesus being incorruptible and eternal. It is also a picture of His strength as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This reveals His power and authority as the resurrected Christ. The church of Thyatira needed encouragement to deal with the false teaching and the compromise in their community.

Revelation 2:19
a) Jesus knows the condition of our church communities. The Thyatiran church had progressed in deeds. The word for deeds in Greek is ERGON – business, employment, that which one is occupied by. Jesus repeats the word twice in verse 19, to affirm their progress in faith works. James 2:18 – show me your faith without deeds, I will show you my faith by what I do. Faith is an action word that moves toward the object of our faith.
b) The church of Thyatira was progressing in deeds and service because they were growing in love and faith. They were expressing AGAPE and PISTIS. The word for service in the Greek is DIAKONIA – those who by the command of God promote religion among men.
c) This church was persevering in faith and love, meaning they were steadfast and constant in deeds, service, love, and faith.
d) Jesus is going to bring a word of correction to this church, but Jesus always corrects with hope and promise. Keep in mind that Jesus is addressing a body of believers, and not isolating individuals. Our communities are accountable for our expression of Christianity.

Revelation 2:20
a) Prophetess Jezebel – The problem here is not a woman who is a prophetess in the church of Thyatira. We must remember that Revelation is a prophetic book, and is best understood in the context of the culture, the history of God’s people at the time, and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. What we are seeing here is the spirit of Jezebel in operation in this church.
b) Jezebel – introduced to us in 1 Kings 16:31. She was the Sydonian wife of King Ahab who was King of Israel. Her name means “unchaste”, so the mention of her name here in Revelation gives us a clue to the spirit in operation.
c) Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord and promoted the prophets of Baal. The Jezebel spirit persecutes those who are anointed to carry the word of the Lord, and promotes spiritual adultery.
d) Jezebel murdered Naboth for his vineyard, land/inheritance in Israel (1 Kings 21). Jezebel used false accusation to murder Naboth by stoning to death. The Jezebel spirit uses deception to kill the faith of God’s people and steal their inheritance in God.
e) Jezebel practiced and promoted spiritual adultery and witchcraft. 2 Kings 9:22
f) Jezebel was executed by Jehu, and died just as was prophesied (2 Kings 9:36) by Elijah. Jezebel was thrown from a window by eunuchs. This was the most disgraceful death ever recorded in Scripture.
g) Understanding Jezebel as a type and shadow help us to understand the charges that Jesus is bring to the Thyatiran church. The whole commerce and culture of Thyatira was founded in trade guild association. Trade guilds were dedicated to patron Greek gods and demigods, and to belong to a trade guild one would need to take oaths, offer sacrifices, feast with meat dedicated to idols, and participate in wild partying that accompanied the feasts. A Christian would have been in a very difficult position in terms of employment, finances without compromising their faith.
h) British Bible scholar William Barclay. – “These guilds met frequently, and they met for a common meal. Such a meal was, at least in part, a religious ceremony. It would probably meet in a heathen temple, and it would certainly begin with a libation to the gods, and the meal itself would largely consist of meat offered to idols. The official position of the church meant that a Christian could not attend such a meal”.
i) Sexual Immorality – Greek – PORNEUŌ – to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another, to give one’s self to unlawful sexual intercourse, metaphorically – spiritual adultery
j) We can conclude that there were those in the church of Thyatira who were teaching God’s people that it was acceptable to compromise their faith in regards to their membership and participation in the trade guilds, and thus commit spiritual adultery and participate in idolatry.

Revelation 2:21
a) The Lord is merciful, patient and longsuffering. Numbers 14:18 – The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ Jesus is being merciful in allowing time for repentance. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Romans 2:4
b) Repent – changing the mind that leads to the changing of the direction of a person’s life.
c) Repent of her immorality – Greek – PORNEIA – illicit sexual intercourse of all types – metaphorically – of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols
d) She was unwilling – Greek – OU – no, not; in direct questions expecting an affirmative answer – The Lord had offered the invitation for heart change, and it was refused.

Revelation 2:22
a) Those who commit adultery with her – It was unlikely that there was one prophetess who was sleeping with members of the church. It is more likely that there were those who were agreeing with the compromise being offered by the false teachers/prophets in the church of Thyatira.
b) The bed is symbolic of the place of rest and healing. Jesus’ relationship with his church was being compromised and corrupted by the false teachers/prophets. The bed here is not a bed that is slept on, but a bed that a sick person is carried on.
c) Jezebel being cast onto a bed of suffering describes the effects spiritual adultery and compromise as it is spiritual sickness.
d) Suffer intensely – MEGAS THLIPSIS – Great tribulation, pressing, pressure – metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits – When we leave truth, and the protective grace of God we are open to reaping what we have sown. Galatians 6:7-8
e) Repentance always draws us back into the full benefit of grace.

Revelation 2:23
a) NASB – I will kill her children with pestilence – This is a more accurate translation of verse 23. Jesus is not in the business of death. John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
b) Jesus does not give death, however He is Judge. What is in view here is symbolic language describing the spiritual death of the heretic and apostate. Those who corrupt their faith often lead future generations into a corruption that gets farther and farther away from the truth, and thus are dead children in terms of New Covenant life.
c) The True Church/Body of Christ can easily recognize error and judge the fruits of lost religious movements. The Christian church throughout church history was marked by love, power, miracles, healing, dead raising, spiritual gifts, and encounters with God. Anything less is not normative of the Christian experience we see starting in the book of Acts.
d) Jesus searches minds and hearts – The Lord knows the true condition of our hearts, and will minister and guide us according to our need.
e) Christians are benefited by living in mystical union with God. We have been mystically united to Christ, and the realization of our identities in Him, open up graces for us to excel and benefit in faith.

Revelation 2:24-25
a) Deep Secrets – There were those in Thyatira who did not participate in the spiritual adultery that was being taught in their community. One does not have to strive to know the mysteries of the Kingdom, as we have the Holy Spirit to teach us, and it is our inheritance in Jesus Christ to know the mysteries of the kingdom. Any teaching that does not present us an onramp to encountering God and loving Him passionately should be tested. Esoteric teachings do not originate in God; because it is His desire for us to know Him and be close to Him. All deep secrets come from satan. He is darkness – God is light.

Revelation 2:26-27
a) The promise to the one who overcomes is the authority of Psalm 2. Purity of faith always yields maximum authority. We see this principle in Acts 19, with the Sons of Sceva misusing the Name of Jesus, and Paul mentioned as having the full authority connected to the Name of Jesus.
b) We have victory written on our hearts. We are overcomers by our new nature given to us by Jesus Christ and imparted by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 2:28
a) Morning Star – The morning star is the promise of the day to come. Jesus is the promised light of dawn that bring the light of revelation and illumination to our hearts. 2 Peter 1:19 – So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
b) Spiritual ears are the ability hear supernatural or spiritual truth and comprehend it. Having the ability to have supernatural or spiritual senses are possible for all Christians because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price
Early Christian Martyr Stories – Bryan M. Litfin
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
Ray Stedman –

Kings and Priests – The Culture of the Kingdom – Part 1

Kings and Priests
The Culture of the Kingdom – Part 1
Rob Covell

This we continue in our series Kings and Priests. In the last session we looked at what the kingdom of God looked like when it is in full blown revival and reformation mode in Acts 19. I thought it was important for us to see the whole picture of what the manifestation of the Kingdom looked like in the context of everyday life, because seeing the big picture points us in the direction of how to get there.

In this session we are going to explore what Kingdom Culture looks like; because every kingdom or nation of people has a common culture. This is the set of values, customs, and the expression of their culture that defines them.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Jesus introduces us to Kingdom Culture in Matthew 5. We will break up our study of Kingdom Culture in 2 parts.

Matthew 5:1-2
a) Jesus is the Word of God. The thought here is that Jesus is the walking, living breathing Torah, who not only speaks the words of God, but lives the words of God. Jesus was the perfect representation of the Father. When we say this, we are saying that Jesus perfectly communicated the nature and character of the Father.
b) Jesus began to teach them – We have the ability by the Holy Spirit to be taught by God. John 16:15 – All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. Not only did Jesus teach His disciples in Person; He still teaches disciples today.
c) Disciple – GREEK – MATHĒTĒS – A learner, pupil, disciple – This is one who is committed to being taught and is in the process of being taught. We say at Refuge that a disciple is one who dreams with God. Our learning process is of a supernatural origin for the purposes of a supernatural kingdom.

Matthew 5:3
a) Blessed – Greek – MAKARIOS – blessed, happy – The thought being communicated here is that we have prosperity of soul that flows from divine favor over your life. Genesis 1:28 – BARAK – to have divine favor spoken over you.
b) Poor in spirit – Greek – PTŌCHOS – In the spiritual context – destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture which the schools afford (men of this class most readily give themselves up to Christ’s teaching and proved themselves fitted to lay hold of the heavenly treasure) – This is what we call a teachable spirit.
c) Thiers is the kingdom of heaven – Greek – BASILEIA (bä-sē-lā’-ä) Royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, – not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
d) Heaven – Greek – OURANOS – The center of the eternal order, where God dwells. The promise of possessing the kingdom of God, or experiencing more of the kingdom of God is a given to us with finality; “theirs is.” All of the promises in verses 3-10 are given with finality.

Matthew 5:4
a) Mourn – Greek – PENTHEŌ – to mourn for, to lament – This is the having the same heart as God over the brokenness of humanity. The promise is comfort. The Greek word is PARAKALEŌ – to be comforted by one coming along side of. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter, in this way we are not mourning without hope, but mourning the effects of sin in the world with hope. It is the Holy Spirit’s ministry to redeem or convert the world. We are see intercession that appeals to the mission of the Holy Spirit to move, act and save.

Matthew 5:5
a) Meek/Gentle – Greek – PRAŸS – gentle, mild – This is being tenderhearted. Having this spirit is the onramp to fulfilling the First Commandment to love the Lord our God with all that we are. We also display His heart when are gentle. Galatians 5:23 – gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 6:1 – Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. – There is a restorative virtue when we minister in gentleness. – Colossians 3:12 – So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
b) Jesus promises inheriting the earth – or land – inherit – Greek – klā-ro-no-me’-ō – to receive a lot, receive by lot, to receive a part of an inheritance, receive as an inheritance, obtain by right of inheritance, to receive the portion assigned to one, receive an allotted portion, receive as one’s own or as a possession –
c) This is a tremendous promise to the Church of Jesus Christ. Tyrants and emperors rule by war, greed, conquest, and take land. They possess no promise. The kingdom of God through the people of the Kingdom rightly possess the land by inheritance and obtain by demonstrating love.

Revelation of Hope – Week 5 – Revelation 2:12-17

Revelation of Hope
Revelation 2:12-17
Week 5
Rob Covell

Introduction –
In this session we will continue in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2, and study the church of Pergamum. Jesus affirms the church of Pergamum, and also warns them to change. When Jesus calls us to repentance He does so with a promise.

We will also continue to see Jesus use plays on words that would have been meaningful to the people who received the Revelation. My hope is that we begin to see and enjoy the hidden things that are in plain sight in the text, as we continue our study of Revelation.

Revelation 2:12
a) Pergamum – Located 16 miles inland from the Aegean Sea, on the North side of the Caicus River. It was founded in ancient times around 400BC; it was a center of culture, and a strategic military site, due it being positioned on high ground. This was a very important city in terms of learning, medical science, and innovation. The city at the time of Revelation was approximately 200K.
b) At the time Revelation was written, Pergamum boasted a huge stone throne dedicated to Zeus/Jupiter. It was also a famous healing center of the ancient world. Hippocrates, the famous ancient physician was from Pergamum, and that is where we derive the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take when they finish medical school. Hippocrates is considered the Father of Western Medicine. The medical symbol of the snake around the pole originated from Pergamum. The healing center in Pergamum was called the Sanctuary of Asclepius.
c) Pergamum had a library that rivaled the library of Alexandria, Egypt, and parchment was invented at Pergamum.
d) This church was known to the Apostle John, as he had a close relationship with Antipas, whom John appointed leader of the church of Pergamum. This church was evangelized in a similar way as the church of Smyrna was evangelized. Christians from Ephesus would have evangelized the city.
e) Jesus is the One with the sharp double edged sword. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The words of Jesus carry the authority to decree Divine Justice, carry creative power, bring correction and wage war against everything that opposes His heart. Jesus is calling the church of Pergamum to the revelation of His power, and the mightiness of His Name. It is important to remember that the 7 letters are addressed to whole communities and not individuals. As church communities we are accountable to their expression of Christianity.

Revelation 2:13
a) Jesus knows the condition of cities and the regional spiritual strongholds that exist in our cities. In Pergamum, Jesus says that satan has his throne there. It is interesting to note that in Pergamum there was a large stone throne dedicated to Zeus/Jupiter. It was a huge edifice on top of mountain. The city that was boasting to have an altar throne to a false god, was actually ruled by the One on the true throne of heaven, Jesus Christ.
b) The church at Pergamum was faithful to their King, Jesus. True to my Name – Greek – KRATEO – to have power, to be powerful – This church was not simply remaining true, they were standing in power.
c) To renounce – Greek – ARNEOMAI – to deny or to act out of character – the church at Pergamum was faithful to their identity as God’s own people.
d) Antipas – appointed by the Apostle John as leader of the church at Pergamum. Antipas was martyred by being burned in a brazen bull shaped altar for casting out demons that were worshiped in Pergamum. Antipas was taunted by the crowd, “Antipas the world is against you! And Antipas answered, then I am against the world.” This human sacrifice of a believer did not shake the faith of this church. Revelation 6:9 tells us that those who are martyred will be avenged by God.

Revelation 2:14-15
a) There were 2 factions in the church at Pergamum who were robbing the church of her purity, and identity. The teachers of Balaam were robbing the church of purity, and the Nicolaitans were robbing the church of her identity as a royal priesthood and a holy nation.
b) Balaam – Numbers 22-25 – A compromised prophet who was spiritual adulterer and prophesied for gain. He was an extravagant worshiper as mentioned in Numbers 22. However, he knew that he could not curse Israel, but advised Balak the King of Moab to have the women of Moab seduce the men of Israel, so that the Lord would punish them for their immorality and spiritual adultery. Balaam was killed in battle (Joshua 13:22). The thought here, is that there were those in the church at Pergamum, who were committing spiritual adultery, and using their prophetic gift to satisfy their own desires and will.
a) The Nicolaitans were mentioned in the letter to Ephesus. Jesus loves His Bride. We are His beloved, and He bled for His church! There were some in Pergamum who using their positions of power to rule over the people of God and destroy them. From the very nature of the word Nicolaitan (Victor over Laity), we assume that these leaders sought to rule over God’s people. The Lord is the only rightful ruler of His church. His leaders/shepherds are meant to encourage the rule and reign of God in the hearts of His people. Not displace Him as King.
c) Jesus is bringing correction to a community of Christians who were compromised by those with agendas.
Revelation 2:16
a) Repent – Greek – METANOEO – to change one’s mind. Our thoughts carry the ability change course, and re-align ourselves with God. This is the power of a transformed mind. A transformed mind is mind that has repented. Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Jesus always offers a promise when He calls us to repentance.
b) The sword of my mouth – It is the word of God that stands as the ultimate authority over churches, and individual lives. Heresies and false teaching are always defeated by the truth contained in the Word of God.
c) It is important to remember that the Church of the First Century was very vulnerable. They did not have the cannon of the New Testament, but probably one of the Synoptic Gospels, and maybe a few Apostolic letters. They were also existing side by side with Judaism, and preaching that they were the extension of God’s plan of salvation for the world and that followers of Jesus were God’s people. (1 Peter 2:4-9). It would have been difficult to resist bad doctrine because they lacked the full counsel of the New Testament.

Revelation 2:17
a) To him who overcomes – Hidden manna – Greek – KRYPTO MANNA – Concealed bread – This speaks of feasting on Jesus in the secret or hidden place. Jesus is promising revelation in intimacy. So many things can be implied by the use of these symbolic words. The person, who has given themselves to hear Him, and seek Him, will indeed be satisfied and rewarded by knowing God.
b) White stone – In a Roman Court of Law, one was acquitted by being given a white stone to indicate innocence. When we are in Jesus Christ we are a new creation with a new name. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter, Solomon became Jedidiah, and we will be called by an intimate name by God, that we alone share with Him.

Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price
Early Christian Martyr Stories – Bryan M. Litfin
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia