As we consider what Yahowsha’ had to say about those who would serve as the “seat of Satan,” remember that these seven Revelation letters should be analyzed the same way we examined the Towrah’s creation account. Three perspectives are evident in each account.
First, there is the obvious historical context. Seven actual assemblies, located within a relatively short distance of each other, all in the Roman province of Asia, in today’s western Turkey, displayed seven different spiritual profiles. By cracking open our history books we will discover why these specific, and mostly insignificant, assemblies were called out for examination.
Second, as with all of Yahowah’s prophecies, in these words there are important lessons for everyone who is “ekklesia – called out.” The conditions praised and scorned coexist side by side. We can scrutinize our lives in the light of these letters, to assess whether we are being commended or chastised.
Third, there is an essential prophetic aspect to each letter which facilitates our understanding of “church” history from God’s perspective, past, present, and future. Each assembly represents a broad period of time, with Yahowsha’s commentary highlighting their most salient manifestations, good and bad, over the course of the past 2,000 years. However, there are echoes of each of these assemblies in evidence simultaneously throughout the age, just as there were in Yahowchanan’s day.
As we discovered in the previous chapter, we can date the Smyrna era precisely because it speaks of “ten days” of persecution, a condition that began under Nero in 67 CE and culminated under Diocletian in 303 CE. The Pergamosian chronology begins shortly thereafter with the emergence of General Constantine in 312 CE. While these people aren’t named, their roles are hard to miss, especially Constantine’s establishment of a hierarchal and universal religion that would come to serve as the seat of Satan’s influence.
Geographically, Pergamos was forty-five miles north of Smyrna. It was the Sin City of its day—one of the most religious places on earth. The society was known as “the temple-keepers of Asia.” The largest shrine belonged to the Grecian sun-idol Zeus, but the city was acclaimed for being the headquarters of the serpent deity, Asklepios. I suspect they recognized that the sun and the serpent represented the same spirit, but they might not have known that they both were kleptos—Greek, for “the one who steals men’s souls.”
In this religious haven, the favorite spirit of the people was Bacchus, the Roman god of carousing, drinking and orgies, in addition to nature, agriculture, wine, fertility, and the written word, who in turn was modeled after the Greek Dionysus—a Pauline deity we will discuss momentarily. His traits mimicked Adonis who was based upon Osiris, Ba’al, Bel, and Tamuz, digressing in time from the Egyptians to the Phoenicians, Assyrians and Babylonians. Satan has always found it handy to change his names and disguises. It’s easier and more beguiling than changing his nature. Today, Catholics commemorate a mélange of Babylonian, Greek, and Roman myths when they observe Lent or participate in the Mardi Gras.
It would be one thing had Yahowsha’ denounced the ekklesia at Pergamos for wallowing in pagan idolatry prior to Yahowchanan’s arrival, but it is actually the incorporation of mythology into the “church” that causes God to condemn them. The problem begins with Paul, but it does not end there. Marcion and Constantine proved to be able allies—co-deceivers if you will. So before we analyze Yahowsha’s letter to the Pergamosians, let’s consider the role Paul’s life, lectures, and letters played in corrupting them.
By examining the book of Acts, we discover that Paul deliberately attributed the most famous line spoken by Dionysus to Yahowsha’ in his third of three depictions of his “lightning” conversion experience. In Acts 26:14, with Sha’uwl defending himself before King Agrippa, he said: “And we all fell down to the ground. I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saoul, Saoul, for what reason are you pursuing me? It is difficult for you to kick against a goad (kentron – a sharp pointed stick used to prod animals and control them or the poisonous stinger of a scorpion).’” (Acts 26:14) While “it is hard to kick against a sharp pointed stick” makes absolutely no sense for the Ma’aseyah to say in this or any other context, a bit of research reveals that Paul’s citation was actually derived from pagan literature.
The phrase was first cited on line 790 of Euripides’ famous play, The Bacchae, which was written for the Dionysia (a fertility and resurrection festival held each spring) in 405 BCE in the shadow of Dionysus’s great temple in Athens. Considered to be the most important treatise on Dionysian mythology, the story opens with the return of Dionysus, who after a long absence was disassociated from his father Zeus. This is not unlike the way Paul severed the connection between Yahowah and Yahowsha’ in his letters. In the play, Dionysus chose to intoxicate believers and unbelievers alike—demonstrating the same effect Paul’s words would have on Christians. The “Son of God’s” most notorious victim was Agave, a committed believer who was said to be the Mother and Queen of Thebes—thereby serving as a prototype for the Catholic Madonna whom the faithful believe is the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. Under the influence of this drug, and while engaged in a ritual orgy, Agave killed and mutilated her son Pentheus, who had sought to forbid the worship of Dionysus. And in this way, Pentheus would come to represent Yahuwdym whom Paul viciously attacked, and even wanted mutilated, for opposing what was essentially a Dionysian religion. Agave would go insane, ultimately committing suicide—mirroring the effect Pauline Doctrine and Christianity would have on the souls of believers. Then as the drama develops, Euripides has Dionysus warn: “It is difficult for you to kick against the goad,” demonstrating the difficulty of resisting the influence, indoctrination, and power of the Greek god.
The Bacchae was named after the Bacchae, or Maenads, who were female devotes of Dionysus known for using hallucinogens to induce ecstasy during their religious orgies. The Catholic Carnival, the Mardi Gras, and Fat Tuesday continue to reflect their debauchery (a word derived from Bacchus) and licentiousness, which are then atoned during the Babylonian-inspired forty days of Lent—another pagan ritual incorporated into Catholicism. In fact, in Euripides’ play, the Maenads had King Pehtheus cousin betray him, luring the king into the woods so that they could tearing him apart, reminiscent of the Babylonian Tammuz (who also was dismembered), whose mythological stories serve as the basis of Christmas, Lent, Easter and the Christian cross.
Should you be wondering why Dionysus (known as Bacchus in Roman mythology, Osiris in Egypt, and Tammuz in Babylon) would be chosen by Paul (or Satan), it is because he is the closest Greek analog to Yahowsha’. As the most recent of the twelve Olympian gods, Dionysus represented change: a new and different covenant with the gods, the inspiration perhaps for Paul’s and Marcion’s “New Testament.” And unlike the vengeful gods of old, Dionysus was fun, even forgiving—foreshadowing the Christian distinction between Yahowah and Yahowsha’.
According to Greek mythology, Dionysus was an “epiphany – a manifestation of god who suddenly arrived on the scene.” His advent was said to illuminate his followers and change God’s previous testimony—also in perfect harmony with Pauline Doctrine. In Pergamos, as is the case today, January 6th is observed as the Epiphany, commemorating the Magi, or Gentile recognition of the arrival of God as told in the Dionysian Mysteries. And considering Paul’s affinity for being both the Ma’aseyah’s messenger, and being a divine example to be emulated, Dionysus’s constant companion was Hermes—the messenger of the gods. (According to Acts 14, Paul and his companion Barnabas were called “Zeus and Hermes.”)
Just as Yahowsha’s blood is represented by wine, Dionysus was the god of wine. Just as Yahowsha’ had a divine father (Yahowah) and a mortal virgin mother (Mary), Dionysus had a divine father (Zeus (the father of the gods)) and mortal virgin mother (Semele). Just as Yahowsha’s Heavenly Father told Yowceph to carry the newborn child to Egypt, as soon as Dionysus was born, Zeus took him to Egypt to protect him from rival gods. Just as with Yahowsha’, Dionysus was responsible for liberating his believers and thereby providing the faithful with eternal salvation, in complete harmony with being saved by way of faith in Paul’s Gospel.
Dionysus was not only killed and then resurrected each spring according to Greek mythological lore; his holy week mirrors the week-long Christian observance of Easter. The annual resurrection of Dionysus on the Sunday closest to the Vernal Equinox celebrated the promise of resurrection from the dead. As such, Dionysus, and thus Bacchus, were known as the “Liberator,” mirroring the central thrust of Pauline Doctrine where “believers are freed from being slaves to all burdens, including the Law.” The faithful believed that Dionysus was the first to open up communication between the living and the dead, paving the way for prayers to Mary and the Christian saints. Even the Roman Catholic Eucharist myth of transubstantiation, where priests turn wine into blood, was first practiced in the Dionysian religion. Dionysus was a hermaphrodite, blurring the lines between male and female, and thus laid the groundwork for Paul, who at the very least was sexually confused, to corrupt Yahowah’s symbols of marriage between a husband and wife who would become a father and mother. This in turn has led to the perversion of Roman Catholic priests who, as homosexuals, have become notorious for sexually abusing young boys.
Known as the god who inspired religious rituals, Dionysus’s holy week was celebrated over the course of five days each Spring. And it was this Dionysia which set the stage for the Christian replacement of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits, with Palm Sunday (“Passion Sunday”), Maundy Thursday (“institution of Communion”), Good Friday (“death and burial of Jesus Christ”), Holy Saturday (where “Jesus rested in the grave”), and Easter Sunday occurring during the last week of the Babylonian festival of Lent.
Just as the Christian “Jesus Christ” is bereft of his Jewish heritage, Dionysus was an alien among the gods—distanced from his Olympian birth. And consistent with the Lord Ba’al manifestation of Satan, the bull, satyrs, and the Pergamosian serpent became the enduring symbols of the Dionysian religion. He is often shown as a mighty hunter, wearing leopard skin, and standing in a chariot drawn by black panthers—all of which are symbolic of Nimrod, the father of the Babylonian religion. The thyrsus staff he is often depicted holding, is distinguished by the adornment of a large pinecone—a phallic symbol representing “coming forth from the seed,” and thereby foreshadowing Paul’s animosity to circumcision and his devotion to the seed of Abraham. By way of this “seed” the uninitiated were miraculously purified and enabled to dwell with the gods so long as they believed the words of his messengers.
Especially troubling, considering Sha’uwl’s affinity of the Greek Charis and Roman Gratia, Dionysus was their father. They were the “love children” of his affair with Aphrodite—the goddess of love. Yes, Christianity’s beloved “Grace” is nothing more than a transliteration of the Latin Gratia, the Roman incarnation of the Charis, the name of the three Greek Graces, known as the Charities (Charites). The English word “charity” is a transliteration. These pagan goddesses of charm, splendor, and beauty, were often depicted in mythology celebrating nature and rejoicing over fertility. Collectively they make four appearances in Homer’s Iliad and three in the Odyssey.
The Graces were associated with the underworld and with the Eleusinian Mysteries. Their naked form stands at the entrance of the Acropolis in Athens. Naked frescoes of the Charites adorn homes in Pompeii, Italy which means that they transcended the Greek religion and influenced Rome where they became known as the Gratia. Their appeal, beyond their beauty, gaiety, and sensual form, is that they held mysteries known only to religious initiates. Francis Bacon, as the founder of the Rosicrucians, and editor of the King James Bible, would have loved them. Because as it would transpire, Paul’s faith, which was based upon Grace, came to mirror the Dionysus cult. And it is for this reason that so many aspects of Pauline Christianity are pagan.
As we shall see as we journey into the Ma’aseyah’s letter, the pagan doctrines of Roman Catholicism become clearly evident right from the beginning. Moreover, from this point on, the Roman Catholic Church would embody its name, becoming “Universal.” They became by default, the only possible candidate for God’s scathing indictment. By the time Constantine had finished blending Mithraism—the violent and politicized sungod religion of Rome—with Pauline Christianity, there were no other significant churches to kick around.
Now that we know the history of the community Yahowsha’ will be talking about, it is time to reprise an old enemy. Remember the Nicolaitanes, those whom the Ephesus Assembly kept at bay? Well, the Pergamosians weren’t so conscientious. They not only ignored Yahowah’s advice, failing to expose and condemn them and their false doctrines, they accepted and endorsed their spirit of universalism. The “church” was poisoned by Paul’s false teaching (corrupting the mind), the sexual immorality of Dionysus and Bacchus (corrupting the body), and by Marcion’s anti-Semitic blend of Gnosticism (corrupting the soul).
The Nicolaitane’s hierarchal class of clerics became commonplace. Even their names—pope, cardinal, priest, monk, and nun—and their costumes—black, white, and red robes and hats—were borrowed from a pagan past. These politicized clerics used religion and politics to rule over the populous. While these concepts were born in the demonic cesspool of Babylon, Pergamos marked the place in which Yahowah’s Called-Out Assembly was first poisoned by Satan’s caustic brew. The Babylonian deceptions Halal ben Shachar had so carefully concocted, seasoned, and stirred as a clever counterfeit would be amalgamated into Christendom courtesy of a demon possessed co-conspirator named Paul and a sun-god worshipping emperor named Constantine during the Pergamosian era.
Yahowah’s disdain for a politicized and hierarchal clergy is something about which most Christians remain unaware. The Nicolaitane doctrine that He will again condemn in Pergamos literally means “to conquer and rule over the people.” Today, and for nearly 1,700 years, a clerical chain of command has formed the basis of Roman Catholicism. And it began during the Pergamos period, under General, then Emperor and Pope Constantine.
In the apostolic era, the leaders of local assemblies were elected through democratic process. Ordinary lay folk voted for other ordinary lay people using a system of black and white stones. Moreover, everyone who served had a job and earned a living doing something else. There were no full time clerics. The priesthood and pastors are a legacy of Roman Catholicism, who in turn borrowed the scheme from the Babylonians, Egyptians and Nicolaitans.
In the latter years of the Pergamos assembly, the Nicolaitanes made a successful bid to completely overthrow the laity. At the Roman Senate of 499 CE, twenty-five full time clerics signed in as Cardinals. Pope Symmachus, who was crowned as if he were king, endeavored to get rid of political opponents and lay siege to universal power by excluding the Senate and ordinary laymen from voting and holding office. He established a law that said only the clergy of Rome could elect a pope. In time, these men would claim absolute and supreme imperial power over everyone within their grasp. A council of bishops would declare the pope to be above mere mortals. The religious, political, intellectual, and economic oppression of the Dark Ages was the result.
The corruption of The Way began in earnest in 312 CE when the Roman General Constantine, like Paul before him, claimed to have seen a sign in the sky, motivating each of them to see themselves as the most influential people in the world. Thus dawns the Universal Era of church history. The vision the general claimed to have seen was a fiery cross superimposed in front of the sun. He attests to hearing a voice cry out: “In this sign, conquer.” Ignorant of the symbolism, Catholics believe that this miraculous signal formed the basis of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, leading to the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet history confirms an entirely different conclusion. Constantine’s coinage continued to be emblazoned with crosses in honor of Mithras, the Unconquerable Sun (Sol Invictus), and with the images of Roman gods like Bacchus. The voice he heard, was no doubt Satanas Diabolos—the same spirit who quoted the Dionysus proverb to Paul.
As an interesting historic note, Constantine’s conversion occurred precisely 300 years before Satan would inspire Muhammad to lead Muslims in jihad against all mankind. Men of similar character (actually, lack thereof), one was to corrupt the message of Yahowsha’ while the other was to repudiate it. One religion was for the confused, the other for the comatose. Both arose and thrived through oppression in milieus of ignorance and indoctrination. No informed rational person could possibly tolerate either.
And that is the lesson for us today, in this era in which evil has a Trinity. In addition to the religion of the confused (Catholicism/Christianity) and comatose (Islam), we have a religion for conceited collectivists. The religion of man is known by many names: Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Secular Humanism, and the New World Order. It parades under the slogans: Human Rights, the Rights of Man, the Dignity of Man (Pope John Paul II’s favorite slogan), Humanism, Reason, Enlightenment, Political Correctness, and Social Democracy. These manifestations of evil—Confused, Comatose, and Conceited—share many things in common. The leaders of all three strive to control people. Their schema is deception and indoctrination. They prevail because the populous is ignorant and apathetic.
Conquering people is the antithesis of the message taught by Yahowsha’ but it is consistent with that of the Nicolaitans—the people and principles Yahowsha’ hates. Moreover, there are no “crosses” in Scripture, so there must have been another basis for Constantine’s symbolism. The Greek word stauros, meaning “upright pole” was changed to the Latin crux, for “cross” by the Roman Catholic Church in their Vulgate to serve Satan and legitimize Constantine. The first religious use of a cross was for Tammuz, the Babylonian Son of the Sun. Catholics still celebrate his birthday every Christmas and his resurrection every Easter.
Crosses attached to or superimposed on circles were the most common Satanic symbols in pagan religions. The Egyptian Ankh, the Hindu Swastika, the Druid “Peace Sign,” and the Roman Chi Rho are all examples. The scientific symbol for “woman,” a circular sun with an external cross, was first used in Babylon to designate the “Mother of God.” The biological male designation, a circle with an arrow emanating from it, is also of Babylonian origin. It signified the sun, represented by the circle, sending a ray, represented by the arrow, out to Mother Earth, impregnating her at the Festival of Ishtar, celebrated on the Sunday nearest the Vernal Equinox. True to the faith of Constantine, Catholics celebrate the Sun’s achievement each year on Easter Sunday, nine months before the sun- god’s nativity on December 25th.
There are several explanations for the origin of the cross in Satanic sun-god lore. It represented the first letter of Tammuz’s name. And the sun “crosses” the equator during the Vernal Equinox in the Constellation of Taurus (the bull), the day the Babylonians believe the sun impregnated mother earth giving birth to Tammuz nine months later at the Winter Solstice. Pagans celebrated Easter Sunday by baking sun-shaped rolls with crosses cut into them. The custom continues with the baking of Hot Cross Buns today. Constantine, and his “Sign of the Cross,” ritualistically imitated by all Catholics today, elevated the Satanic symbol to universal acclaim.
As bad as all this is, it only gets worse. The High Priest of the astrological fertility cult the Magi brought from Babylon to Pergamos in the name of Dionysus held the title of “Chief Bridge Builder,” meaning “the one who spans the gap between mortals and gods.” In Latin this title is written “Pontifex Maximus” or Pontiff for short. In keeping with the arrogance of the Caesars, it was adopted by Constantine in 325 CE. The emperor also called himself “the Vicar [the person who is authorized to perform the functions] of Christ.” This too was contrary to Scripture because Yahowsha’ alone is the bridge between man and God. It is why stauros is never actually scribed in any of the eyewitness or historical accounts, but is instead represented by a Divine Placeholder, affirming that the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ and Doorway of Passover are one.
In a move that many see as positive, Constantine declared an end to Christian persecution. Forgetting for a moment that persecution actually ended under Diocletian in 303 CE, twenty years before Constantine became Emperor, the announcement was counterproductive. It effectively ended the effectiveness of the martyrs’ witness—a testimony which had by then inspired an awesome number of Greeks and Romans to abandon paganism and follow The Way. Recognizing their numbers and growth, Constantine’s edict was designed to consolidate his power. There is no better way to control the masses than to claim the authority of God. That is why he declared that Christianity was the official state religion—a religion he himself was to officiate. Never mind that Yahowah never intended His Covenant relationship to be a “religion,” much less political. But the Devil and his disciple had other plans.
As the last Smyrna Epoch persecution took place, it was almost as if Satan grumbled to himself, “This isn’t working. I need a new strategy.” Under pressure, the Called-Out Assembly had not died out; it had grown stronger. It was hard to seduce hypocrites and heretics to corruption when false illusions cost more than the breath it took to profess them. Persecution kept the false prophets at bay, but the politicized church opened the flood gates of hell. So, Halal ben Shachar, the Arrogant Morning Star (a.k.a. the sun god), figured, if murder and mutilation wouldn’t prevail against the Ekklesia, maybe success would. So he had his pal Constantine “convert” to “Christianity,” and, as Roman emperors were wont to do, he issued an edict that made the Roman world a Christian domain. The reason “converted” is in quotes is because Constantine actually converted Roman paganism, called Mithraism, into Christianity, rather than converting himself. The legacy of that solitary act has cursed us all, even to this day.
While the Called-Out Assembly came out of the catacombs, the celebration was short lived. Constantine had no intention of actually letting Yahowah prevail over him—he was the emperor of Rome, after all. Besides, economically and socially, paganism would have to be accommodated for the Roman economy to flourish. So he dressed up the old celestial holidays in new, “Christian” costumes. It’s called syncretization, but what it meant is that the most vital Scriptural truths were surrendered to Satan. Forgetting the Called-Out Assemblies of Reconciliations and Shelters, the Winter Solstice Festival that commemorated the son of the sun-god’s birthday in pagan Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, was renamed Christmas. The Church kept the pagan tree and its decorations, the yule designation, mistletoe, circular wreaths symbolizing the sun, and the exchange of presents. Simultaneously, they forgot Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits, replacing the Spring Called-Out Assemblies with the Babylonian-derived fertility bash, Ishtar. It had always been celebrated on the Sunday nearest the spring equinox so that nine months later, the Son of the Sun could be born. This purely pagan abomination was syncretized by the Roman Catholic Church to commemorate “Christ’s resurrection.” (In actuality, Yahowsha’s restoration occurred before sunrise so it was late on the Sabbath and not the morning of the first day of the week.)
Satan being disingenuous, not stupid, had his Catholic cronies corrupt the message of the Mow’ed Miqra’ of Bikuwrym by attributing it to Babylon’s most important festival. So arrogant were they, the “Church” didn’t even bother changing the name, day, or symbols for Easter. And sadly, Protestants were no less cooperative. The authorized and thus politicized clerics who translated the King James Version actually replaced the name “Passover” with “Easter” in their “Bible.” Both Catholics and Protestants retained the Babylonian cross, designating when the sun crossed the equator of mother earth at the equinox. Both encouraged the slaughter and consumption of swine, known today as the Easter Ham, although it was expressly discouraged in the Torah and specifically denounced in Yasha’yah / Isaiah 65. Both encouraged their faithful to scoff at Yahowsha’s sacrifice by teaching children about the Babylonian fertility cult’s “Easter Bunny,” a rabbit whose “eggs” were dipped in the colors of spring. It was perfect in a demonic sort of way.
Forgetting the First of Seven Instructions (albeit better known as the “Fourth Commandment”) and it’s spiritual, historic, and prophetic significance, Constantine, the founder of Catholicism, condemned the Sabbath at the dawn of the Pergamos Era, making observing the day a capital offense. He wanted his idol, Mithras, the sun god, worshiped on Sun-days.
While many have filled entire books with Constantine’s satanically inspired perversions of Yahowah’s teachings, I simply want to provide a sampling. And here is an interesting one: Constantine’s historian, Eusebius, recorded the following imperial edict in 321 CE, “All things whatsoever that it was the duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s Day.” Ba’al must have been pleased. Then he called Sunday “Sol Invictus Mithras”—“the day of the Unconquerable Sun, Mithras.” Under penalty of death he decreed that all within his empire must cease work on Sun-Day to honor the sun god. America’s Blue Laws are an abominable legacy.
Forgetting that Rome murdered the Ma’aseyah, and forgetting that Yahowsha’s mother was from the tribe of Yahuwdah, Constantine at Satan’s urging went on to say of the chosen people: “We will have nothing to do with the cursed wretches who killed our Lord—nothing in common with the hostile rabble of the Yahuwdym.” He was of course parroting Pauline Doctrine. And as a result of the wannabe “Apostle” and “Pope,” the Torah was replaced by the edicts of man. The foundation of Yahowah’s message, the four-thousand-year old prophetic witness that had provided mankind’s lone light was extinguished. To have “nothing in common with the Yahuwdym” is to exclude the Word of God and it was delivered exclusively by Yahuwdym. With this edict, all Catholics and all who follow their guidance would be damned, as mankind’s only chance of forming a relationship with Yahowah had been designated illegal by a religion.
Satan left another fingerprint on Constantine’s quote. The “Lord’s Day” is Satan’s day. The name of the sun god worshiped by the Phoenicians and Babylonians, Ba’al, means “Lord.” For example, the Babylonian’s observed the Ba’al Beryth, known as the “Lord’s Covenant.” Lord/Ba’al and his alias’ Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, and Bacchus, were prototypes and forerunners of Mithras. Halal ben Shachar, the pretend sun god, wanted to lord over men—possessing an attitude and ambition he shared with the Catholic clergy. Tying it all together, Ba’al was worshiped in the likeness of a bull, a golden calf with a circular sun disk between his horns. And that leads us right back to Easter Sunday, the day the sun crosses the equator at the vernal equinox. Each year when that happens the sun is in the constellation of Taurus—the bull.
The prophet Yirmayahuw (Jeremiah), speaking for Yahowah, revealed God’s perspective on this subject. The mystery religion of Lord/Ba’al had spread from Babylon to Yisra’el. There it had been accepted by some and tolerated by others, leaving the chosen people in a state of decay. But we cannot say that we were not warned. Yahowah begins His tutorial on what would transpire in Pergamos by contrasting His relationship to the politicized religious schemes of men—especially that touted by Paul.
“Indeed (ky), the world (ha ‘erets – the land and material realm) is filled with (male’ – is replete, satisfied, and content with (scribed in the qal perfect, telling us that this problem is real not hypothetical, that it is complete and thus not partial, and that it has continued to exist uninterrupted over time)) idolatrous adulterers (na’ap – with those who are not faithful or monogamous and who engage in illicit relationships with false deities). Therefore surely (ky), as part of and from (min) the presence (paneh) of this curse (‘alah), the world (ha ‘erets – the land and material realm) mourns for the dead and dries up (‘abel – weeps and grieves for the departed, becoming parched, lifeless dust without water (qal perfect)); the pasture and the encampment (nawah – the source of nourishment and the place where one lives) wither and shrivel (yabes – are gone, ceasing to exist (qal perfect)) becoming a barren wasteland (midbar – becoming a desolate and lifeless place; a compound of midad / ma’ad / min – to reject, deny, leave, and waver away from dabar – the Word). And (wa) their course of action, whereby they use oppression and extortion to facilitate their wayward lifestyle (maruwtsah – their illicit financial dealings where money is stolen by those in power [read: religious and political authorities] to fund a fast-paced, misguided, aggressive, and impulsive way of life) was, is, and will continue to be completely (hayah – exists as (scribed in the qal stem which tells us that the subject, which is the oppressive extortion, has and will actually occur, and imperfect waw consecutive which affirms that this choice of behavior will eventually cease even though its consequences will endure)) wrong (ra’ah – evil, wicked, distressful, disastrous, troubling, misfortunate, and harmful), and their use of power, influence, and authority (gebuwrah – their religious supremacy, and to a lesser degree their political, economic, and military might) is not (lo’) right, honest, or trustworthy (ken – valid, correct, or just).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:10)
God is criticizing religious leaders as well as the institutions which empower them. He is upset that they are promoting false gods, and says that as a consequence, the world has become a wasteland in which most people now waver away from His Word. Of special interest, we must recognize that God is particularly displeased with the propensity for religious leaders to fund their often lavish lifestyles by extorting money from the masses and by oppressing those they claim to serve. With religion, it’s all about amassing money and power. It always has been.
“Indeed (ky – surely and truly), moreover (gam – also), the prophet (naby’ – the person who claims to speak on behalf of a deity) in addition to (gam) the priest (kohen – the religious official and ruler, the cleric and minister, the royal advisor and priesthood) are defiled and godless (hanep – filthy, morally corrupt, internally polluted, crooked, spineless, wavering, and ungodly). And even (gam) in (ba) My house (beyth – family and home [speaking of the Promised Land]), I have found (masa’ – I have obtained sufficient evidence to determine that) they are evil (ra’ah – wrong, wicked, disastrous, troubling, and harmful),’ prophetically declares (na’um – affirms in advance) Yahowah ( - - יהוה).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:11)
There is no denying that “prophets” and “priests” are religious leaders. Therefore, God’s indictment is focused upon the sectarian establishment. That however, does not exonerate politicians because for most of human history religious and political power has been inseparable. Even today in nations which feign separation of church and state, most candidates draw their support from religious constituents. In America, the Republican Party and Christianity are wed, just as Socialist Secular Humanism has become ingrained within the Democratic Party.
We must therefore conclude, at least according to God, that those most intent upon appearing godly are ungodly. Those who pretend to be moral are among the most immoral. Religion, rather than being a source for good which leads believers to God, is a bastion of evil, where the foolish and faithful are led astray.
“‘So therefore, likewise (la ken – so much more so then) they have actually become (hayah – they have genuinely, continuously, and habitually come to exist as (qal imperfect)) their own way (derek – their path) to (la – on behalf of and namely) the slippery walk associated with their slick, empty, and treacherous words (ka ha halaqlaq – the slippery slimy slope comprised of their flattering and yet unfulfilled promises which serve to divide and plunder) in (ba) the darkness (ha ‘apelah – the absence of light where wickedness and calamity thrive; from ‘aphel – the setting sun). They will stumble (dachah – they will trip, slip, and stagger (niphal imperfect, telling us that they will consistently trip on their own words)) and (wa) they will fall (napal – they will bow down and they will be cast down) into it (ba – speaking of being cast into the place where there is no light). Indeed (ky), I will bring (bow’) misfortune upon them (ra’ah ‘al – distress, misery, and suffering, trouble, distress, and ruin on them) the year (sanah – the time of change and transformation) of their appointed judgment and punishment (paqudah – of reckoning, of exercising authority and assigning responsibility which results in imposing a penalty whereby they are placed into custody),’ prophetically declares (na’um – affirms in advance) Yahowah ( - - יהוה).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:12)
“‘And (wa) among (ba) the prophets (naby’ – those who claim to speak for God) of Shomarown (shomarown – those who are observers, capital city of the Northern Kingdom (transliterated Samaria)), I have seen (ra’ah) their repulsive, foolish, and abhorrent (tiplah – their insipid, characterless whitewash, their wrongful and offensive, criminal and sinful, unsavory and unseemly) claims to divine inspiration (naba’ – messages communicated on behalf their gods) in the Lord (ba ha ba’al). And (wa) they caused My family (‘am – My people), Yisra’el (yisra’el – those who strive to engage and endure with God) to be misled and to go astray (ta’ah – to be deceived and wander away).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:13)
When trying to save Christians from their religion, I am often confronted with the argument: “While God’s Word may say what you are suggesting, the spirit of god has personally revealed something different to me.” You’d be surprised by just how many people claim to have received their own private message—all of course received “in the name of the Lord.” They will even protest: “If you let the holy spirit guide you, then the translations don’t matter, because the Lord will reveal the truth.” The fact that this position is wholly inconsistent with Yah’s Instructions on the matter never fazes the faithful.
God sees the pronouncements of those who speak in the name of the Lord as being “tiplah – repulsive, foolish, and abhorrent.” That which is conveyed “ba ha ba’al – in the Lord” is “tiplah – wrong; it is offensive—a criminal, unsavory, and unseemly whitewash.”
“‘And with (wa ba) Yaruwshalaim’s (yaruwshalaim – the source of restoration (transliterated Jerusalem’s)) prophets (naby’ – those who claim divine authorization and inspiration), I have seen (ra’ah) something horrible, shocking, and abominable (sa’ruwr – a terrible and astounding abomination). They are unfaithful to the covenant (na’ap – idolatrous and adulterous), and walk (wa halak) in the lie (ba ha seqer – vainly and egotistically in the utterly false and useless deception, in the fraud). And (wa) they become powerful by empowering (hazaq – they use extremely harsh and severe tactics to gain control by strengthening) the hands (yad) of those who are evil and wicked (ra’a). Accordingly (la), they do not disassociate or turn away from (bilthy suwb) man (‘iysh – mankind)—from (min) his wickedness (ra’ah – his wrongdoing and immorality, his adversity and misfortune). They are (hayah – they were, are, and continue to be) to Me (la – and according to Me) all (kol) like (ka – the same as) Sodom (sodom – that which is scorched and burning) and (wa) they live (yasab) like (ka – similar to) ‘Amorah (‘amorah – a place where tyrants manipulate the people, treating them as merchandise and slaves, usually rendered Gomorrah).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:14)
Throughout time, religious and political leaders have allied to authenticate and empower one another. The cleric claims that the king was authorized by God and the king forces everyone to submit to the cleric’s religious authority. There is no better example of this ungodly abomination than Catholicism’s Holy Roman Empire.
It’s sad, but nonetheless true: many of the world’s most popular religions flow out of Yaruwshalaim. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Socialist Secular Humanism are all examples of doctrines inspired by Yisra’elite prophets. Collectively, they have embittered and poisoned the world with their insincere hypocrisy and ungodliness.
Speaking specifically of religious leaders, God compares their dissatisfaction with His Covenant, their lies, their quest for power, and their wicked behavior as He saw Sodom and Gomorrah. And you know what He did to them. But now that you know that God is always consistent, you may not want to stand too close to a church, synagogue, or mosque.
“Accordingly therefore (la ken) this is what (koh) Yahowah (Yahowah) of the vast array of envoys (saba’ – the spiritual command and control regime who serve by following orders) says (‘amar) concerning (la) those who claim to speak for God (naby’ – the prophets), ‘Behold, I (hineh – be aware, I) will cause them to consume (‘akal ‘eth – will feed and destroy them with) unpleasantness and bitterness (la’anah – a very bitter and extremely unpleasant substance (sometimes interpreted to be “wormwood”)), and I will cause them to drink (saqah) poisonous (ro’sh – venomous and deadly (sometimes interpreted as “gall” or “hemlock”)) water (maym).
Indeed because (ky) from (min – and out of) the prophets (naby’) of Yaruwshalaim (yaruwshalaim – the source of reconciliation) comes forth (yasa’ – comes out) wicked profanity, vile pollution, insincere hypocrisy, and complete godlessness (chanuphah – that which is unclean, defiled, corrupt, unreliable, and hypocritical) to all (la kol) the earth (ha ‘erets – the material world).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:15)
“This is what (koh) Yahowah ( - - יהוה) of the vast array of envoys (saba’ – the spiritual command and control regime of messengers who serve by following orders) says (‘amar), ‘You should not listen (lo’ shama’ – you should not hear, receive, or pay attention to the message (qal imperfect – speaking of the actual and unfolding consequences of this advice)) concerning (la) the words, speeches, statements, and messages (dabar) of those prophets (naby’) who claim to speak for God (naby’ – who insist they are authorized and inspired by God) to you (la’).
They (hem) are vain, worthless, and delusional liars arrogantly providing false hope (habal – promoting that which is untrue and unreliable, making them of no value, as their promises are utterly meaningless, empty, and futile) to you (‘eth – among you). Revealing (hazown) their heart, character, and feelings (leb – their inner nature, attitude, desires, motivations, ambitions, and relationships), they do not speak the Word (lo’ dabar – they do not verbalize the message) from (min) the mouth of (peh) Yahowah ( - - יהוה).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:16)
Those who insist that they speak for God, don’t. Examples include Rabbi Akiba, the founder of Judaism, Paul, the founder of Christianity, and Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Today’s popes, who claim to be infallible as God’s authorized agents, are delusional liars. God speaks for Himself, and quite articulately I might add. He revealed the Towrah in His own voice, and His prophets simply scribed the words which came from His mouth.
Still speaking of religious leaders, Yah says: “‘They continuously say (‘amar ‘amar – they preach and they promise, they declare and they pontificate, they answer and they claim without ceasing) to those who reject, spurn, slander, devalue, and disregard Me (la na’as – to those who treat Me with contempt, who demean My actual status, who treat Me disrespectfully and who discard what I have to say, who despise and blaspheme Me, who act as if I no longer matter) that they speak the word of (dabar – that they communicate the message of) Yahowah ( - ).
They say (‘amar – they proclaim, promise, and declare): “Peace be unto you (shalowm hayah la – salvation shall exist for you),” but they all walk (wa kol halak – on any and all paths) in the stubbornness of their heart (ba sharruwt leb – in the firmness of their convictions they refuse to change), so to the contrary, they are bringing (lo’ bow – in opposition, they are actually pursuing, bearing, associating with, and causing) misfortune, misery, and suffering (ra’ah – evil, harm, trouble, distress, calamity, adversity, affliction, and ruin) upon you (‘al).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:17)
When a Hebrew word is repeated, as is the case with ‘amar ‘amar, the meaning and message of the word is exponentially intensified. So this is “preaching, promising, and pontificating ad nauseum.” Moreover, in the first instance, ‘amar was scribed in the qal stem, which affirms that this problem is real, not hypothetical. Then by using the participle form, which serves as a verbal adjective, we learn that the preacher and his preaching, the rabbi and his rant, the priest and his promises, the pope and his pontifications, and the imam and his instructions, are all inseparable. God is exposing and condemning the men as well as their message.
There is a reason that Yahowah speaks for Himself. “‘After all (ky – because indeed, noting the obvious contrast), who (my) of them was present (‘amad – of them was appointed, assigned, or could even endure standing) in the council of (ba sowd – was confided in, was intimate with, or was consulted or trusted by) Yahowah ( - - יהוה)?
And who (wa my) of them has seen (ra’ah) or heard (shama’) My Word (dabar)? Who (my) of them has paid attention to and heeded (qasab) My Word of Words (dabar dabar – My Message of Messages, My Communication of Communications, My ultimate and perfect Testimony) and (wa) has received the news and understood it (shama’ – has listened attentively and proclaimed that message)?’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:18)
And yet this disparity between the qualifications of God and man has not been sufficient to dissuade religious men from pretending to speak on behalf of God. There was but one man who spoke as if He were the mouth of God, the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’, the dabar dabar.
But be aware, God is aware. And He is not pleased with the arrogance and insolence of the religious. “Behold (hineh), the storm (ca’ar) of Yahowah’s (Yahowah’s) displeasure and fury (hemah – hostility and antagonism, anger, wrath, and rage) shall go forth (yasa’) giving birth to a (chuwl – bringing forth the birth pangs of shaking, trembling, quaking, and swirling) storm of destructive force (ca’ar) upon the source (ro’sh – the summit, head, and beginning, even the chiefs, leaders, and sum total) of wickedness (rasa’ – of the criminal behavior, the guilty, unrighteous, evil, and condemned), swirling down as birth pangs upon them (chuwl – shaking them and causing them to tremble).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:19)
This reminds us of the birth pangs Yahowsha’, the Word of Words, said would precede His return. He even referred to one such storm as being megas seismos – which speaks of “great earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes.”
This next statement is as important as any you may ever consider: “Yahowah’s ( - - יהוה – Yahowah’s) anger (‘aph – the presence and breath of His frustration and resentment, of His personal and material response) will not return (suwb – will not materialize or come upon them) until (‘ad) He is actually done working (‘asah – He has reliably completed doing everything which needs to be done (qal infinitive construct – which affirms the reliability and genuineness of this promise, and also, as a verbal noun, that Yahowah and this work are inseparable, literally one in the same)), and until (‘ad) He takes His stand on behalf of, establishes, confirms, and validates (quwm – honors and fulfills) the decisions and plans (mazimah – the purposes, discretion, and thoughts, in addition to the careful, prudent, and judicious choices) of His heart (leb – of His inner nature and character).
In (ba) the last (‘acharyth) days (yowm), you all will come to this realization (byn – will apprehend this information (hitpolel stem and imperfect conjugation – speaking of how this realization will have ongoing and unfolding consequences on the prudent)) by way of (ba) consideration, discernment, and understanding (bynah – thoughtfully and rationally evaluating these insights).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:20)
God is going to allow man, through his religious schemes, to corrupt His Word and fool the unwary right up until the last day, and then, and only then will He respond. This destroys the notions that God is engaged protecting the reliability of bible translations, and that God is actively judging, even punishing, those He does not respect. While He will do both things, He’s not doing either now. Both realizations are devastating blows to religion and those who advocate them.
But more than debunking these pervasive religious myths, God has told all who would listen that He is personally going to do all of the work required to validate and fulfill His plans and promises. Further, He is going to accomplish this by taking a personal stand on our behalf, one which will serve to establish us. Moreover, these acts and this result will be wholly consistent with His character and nature. This is why Ma’aseyah means: the Work of Yahowah. It is why the name God chose to fulfill this promise, Yahowsha’, means: Yahowah Saves.
God has a plan which is a reflection of His heartfelt desire and purpose, one which will be enacted by Him personally on His schedule. And His timeline includes a period of time known as “the last days,” and era which will end this world as we know it.
And if that were not enough for one verse, with these words we discover that in the last days God’s people will finally come to realize and understand His plan, His timeline, and the stand He took to achieve His purpose. Moreover, they achieve this result through carefully observing the information He has provided and processing it logically. We not only can know; we will know.
If you go to your favorite synagogue, church, mosque, or classroom expecting to be told the truth, beware: “‘I did not send (lo’ salah – I did not authorize or dispatch) these prophets (ha naby’ – these individuals who claim that they were inspired and that they spoke for God), and so they (wa hem) will be quickly dispatched and driven away (ruws – they will be swiftly pursued and they will run away).
I did not speak as God to them (lo’ dabar ‘el – I did not communicate My Word to them). And yet they (wa hem) spoke as if they were inspired (naba’ – acting as if they were prophets, they claimed to reveal God’s message). But (wa) if (‘im) they had been present (‘amad) in My council (ba sowd – engaged in an intimate fellowship with Me, coming to trust and rely upon Me and My counsel), and if they had heard, heeded, and proclaimed (shama’ – received, understood, acknowledged, and reported) My Word (dabar – My message) among (‘eth – beside and alongside) My family (‘am – My people), they would have returned, having turned away from their (suwb min) evil and wicked (ra’ – harmful and troubling) ways (derek), and from (wa min) their sinful (roa’ – immoral and improper) deeds (ma’alal – actions and activities).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:21-22) If ever a man was guilty of this, that man is Paul. He spoke and wrote as though he had been authorized by God to contradict God.
God is approachable. That is the purpose of His Covenant and His Invitations to Meet. If you want to know Him, He has facilitated and published the way. So, if you are estranged from Him, you can blame the errant nature of religious rhetoric. “Am (ha – as an interrogative) I (‘any) a God (‘elohym) who is the source of (min – who is the means to) close, personal, and intimate relationships (qarowb – who is near and approachable)?’ prophetically asks (na’um) Yahowah ( – Yahowah), ‘and not (wa lo’) a God (‘elohy) of (min) separation, alienation, or disassociation (rachowq – distance)?’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:23)
Yahowah is approachable. He is personable. He desires above all else close, intimate, relationships. Those who reject the blasphemy of their religious leaders, and honestly search for Him, find Him waiting for them with open arms.
“‘If (‘im) man (‘iysh – an individual) tries to conceal himself (satar – hide by operating slyly and secretly) in his secret places for perpetrating his crimes (ba ha mictar – protected hiding places where he conspires), then am I not able to see him (wa ‘any lo’ ra’ah – so am I not able to expose and reveal him)?’ prophetically declares (na’um) Yahowah ( – Yahowah). ‘Did I not (ha lo’ ‘any) fill and complete (male’ – provide all of the necessary matter to completely satisfy the requirements of) the spiritual and material realms (ha shamaym wa ha ‘erets)?’ authoritatively asks (na’um) Yahowah (יהוה – Yahowah).” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:24)
Can you imagine being God, looking down on pathetic humans scurrying around in the Vatican and in Mecca, as they plot their revolting religious schemes, and not be totally disgusted? Religious and political men think that they are so clever, so powerful, so enlightened, so entitled, and yet they are nothing in comparison to Yahowah, or even to that which God has created.
Yahowah has demonstrated His existence in the cosmos with the enormity of its magnitude and on earth with the complexity of its life. He has made Himself known sufficiently through His Word and the witness of His people. And He has proven that He inspired what we are reading by fulfilling countless prophecies. And yet Christians, mostly as a result of Paul’s letters and Marcion’s promotion of them, have distanced themselves from Yahowah as if He were an absentee landlord, someone who intervened long ago but was no longer involved. The concept of Yahowah desiring “close personal relationships,” is alien to them because this view is inconsistent with their attitude toward the “Old Testament.”
Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been deceived because self-serving men have elected to deceive, destroying and damning others in an ill-fated quest for sex, power, and money. False prophets have become as deadly as they have become ubiquitous, as ignorant and they are arrogant. They occupy our statehouses, media houses, educational institutions, businesses and sanctuaries. There is no escaping them or their schemes.
There were four false prophets of world renown who have deceived based upon their unsubstantiated claims to have received a vision from God: Paul, Constantine, Muhammad, and Joseph Smith. And while they have collectively fooled billions of people, they made fools of themselves before God.
“‘I have heard (shama’) that which (‘eth ‘asher) they have and will say (‘amar – will claim, promise, and declare). Those prophets (ha naby’) who claim to be inspired (naba’) in My name (shem – My designation, reputation, and renown), lie (seqer – mislead, are vain, false, and useless deceivers), concerning their claim (la ‘amar – so as to infer and declare), “I have received a divine revelation (halam halam – I have received a communication from God).”’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:25)
Foremost among those being indicted here is Paul, the founder of the Christian religion. He is the wolf in sheep’s clothing who claimed to have been an apostle sent by the command of God, and yet consistently contradicted God with his, “But I say ” Likewise, Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion, was also a “seqer – liar.” Moreover, Yahowah did not say that “some of those who have claimed to have received a divine revelation were liars,” but that those who have made the claim were liars.
To the best of my knowledge, I do not bear this stigma. The Introduction to God, and indeed Yada Yah, is not based upon “a divine revelation or communication I have personally received from God,” but instead upon the Divine revelation God has made available to all of us in His Torah, Prophets, and Psalms. And while I have tried to be informative without crossing the line from translating and commenting upon Yahowah’s Word to sounding as if I’m speaking for Him, please consider this confession instructive in this regard.
Considering the inappropriateness, arrogance, and consequence of religious malfeasance, it must pain Yah to ask this question, especially since He has already provided the answer: “‘How long (matay) meanwhile (‘ad) will this exist (yes) in the hearts (ba leb – in the character, nature, and ambitions) of the prophets (ha naby’) who prophesy (naba’) vain lies (seqer – misleading deceptions), the prophets (naby’) with delusional and deceitful (tarmyth – accusing, misleading, and untrue, fraudulent and treacherous) hearts (leb – inner natures, attitudes, desires, motivations, ambitions, and relationships)?’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:26)
He has already given us the answer. Religious leaders will continue to deceive until Yahowah personally intervenes to stop them during the last days. The simple truth is that God cannot micromanage the world without destroying the viability of freewill, and with it the validity of His Covenant Relationship.
In other words, false prophets are rotten to the core. Their poisonous words are the product of their corrupted nature.
It should be noted that ‘ed, or ‘ad, depending upon how it is vocalized in this passage, can be translated “continue,” “witness,” or “plunder,” even as “testimony which keeps preying upon its victims,” which is why I have rendered it as such. Typically when more than one definition fits, every appropriate meaning is intended.
So the message here is that Yahowah knows us, and He knows those who deceive us. He is under no illusions. Too bad the same cannot be said for humankind. Just look at what we have done to ourselves in spite of Yahowah’s prophetic warning.
The religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all guilty of fulfilling this prophecy:
“‘Their plan is for (ha hasab – considering everything, their thinking, calculation, decision, devise, and account reveals that they are determined for) My people (‘am – My family) to overlook, forget, and to cease to properly value (sakah – to ignore, to be unmindful of, to lose sight of the significance of, and to no longer respond to) My personal and proper name (shem) by way of (ba) the revelations and communications (ha halowm – the claims to inspired insights) which (‘asher) they recount to (saphar – they proclaim, record, and write to) mankind (‘iysh), to their fellow countrymen and associates (la rea’ – to others in their race and company), just as when in a relationship with (ka ‘asher ‘eth ba – similarly as when engaged in the same relationship with) the Lord (ha Ba’al), their fathers (‘ab – their forefathers and ancestors) overlooked, ignored, and forgot (sakah – were not mindful of and ceased to appreciate the significance of) My personal and proper name (shem).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:27)
God told us that religious men, self-proclaimed prophets, would remove His name from His testimony, causing it to be forgotten and ignored. By any rational measure, this is among the most important and devastating prophecies in the whole of Scripture. Its fulfillment has served to separate billions of people from God, and it explains what occurred to cause our translations to be such a mess.
Proving Yahowah right, the translators of most every popular English bible carelessly and inaccurately ignored Yahowah’s personal name in this of all passages and replaced it with “LORD.” And yet they meticulously and accurately transliterated Satan’s moniker as “Ba’al.” These clerics, scholars, and pastors demonstrated a greater respect for the Adversary than they did for God.
Re’a, meaning “fellow countrymen, neighbors, ethnic groups, companions, and associates,” also implies people of “like mind, reasoning, and thought.” As such it speaks to religious people today, believers who have been conditioned to think and respond collectively, as well as to those educated under the auspices of secular humanism, embracing diversity and multiculturalism as an interrelated family of man. In that the same two Hebrew letters (רֹעַ) also signify “evil, wickedness, rotten ugliness” and “immorality,” we have a good idea of what Yahowah thinks of man’s replacement morality—political correctness.
This passage also explains the what, how, and why of the Catholic Church’s egregious and destructive deceptions during the Pergamos period. They not only disposed of Yahowah’s name, causing mankind to forget the proper designation of their Creator and Savior, through their associations with governments and academia, they caused men to cower under their intimidating ruthlessness, misleading countless souls to their temporal and eternal doom. Each and every pope from Constantine to this present day has been a “false prophet, an enchanter who avowed that which was not true, revealing their hearts and minds, arrogantly boasting false promises, misleading lies, mistaken beliefs, and irrational vanities.”
There is no greater testament to this than Emperor Constantine’s most fatal blow to humanity. It occurred at the much politicized and ruthlessly commandeered Nicene Council in 325 CE. There, the “unification of doctrines” created the Roman “Universal,” or “Catholic” Church. Forgetting that Yaruwshalaim was, and always will be, Yahowah’s beloved and set-apart city, these men in their lust for power, selected Constantinople and then Rome. Never mind that Rome is allied with the Anti-Ma’aseyah in Revelation, or that the fourth beast of Dany’el’s prophecy was Rome, or that Rome was the most militaristic and pagan of nations, the most morally perverse place on earth, the nation which crucified the Ma’aseyah, the nation which ruthlessly savaged Yahowah’s chosen people, the nation which devastated and then renamed the Promised Land, calling Yisra’el, Palistina.
The moniker “Catholic” was no better. The name was derived from the Latin catholicus, meaning “universal,” signifying the “Church’s” universal authority. And recognizing that “Church” is based upon the name of a pagan sun deity, the supreme deity of the Romans, Constantine’s Council was a universal abomination.
With Pergamos, Satan had found mankind’s Achilles heel: universal and politicized religion. The assembly embraced the very thing Yahowsha’ had commended the assembly at Ephesus for resisting: the testimony of self-proclaimed apostles like Paul, the Nicolaitan heresy, and the doctrine of Balaam—corruption, counterfeit, compromise, and human dominion. Starting with Paul, Marcion, Nicolas, and Constantine, the Roman Catholic Church swallowed these poisons whole. By accommodating pagan rites into the liturgy of the Church, a perverted religion was born. The intimate, eternal, and loving personal relationship Yahowah desired was scrapped for a stifling and deadly dogma.
For the Pergamosians, doing the right thing remained a priority, out of habit, at least for a while, but the rationale for observing Yahowah’s instructions was on its way out. Love was being replaced with duty, truth with deception, choice with compulsion, and relationship with religion. The time historians paint as Christianity’s brightest hour was the Ekklesia’s darkest.
But before returning to Yahowsha’s prophetic letters, let’s consider something else He inspired Yirmayahuw to memorialize in writing for our benefit because it seems to apply...
“‘The prophet (ha naby’) who associates himself with (‘asher ‘eth) these revelations and communications (ha halowm – the claims to inspired insights), let him continue to recount, record, and write (saphar – publish and communicate) his divine revelations and inspired messages (halowm). And those who as a result of the relationship (wa ‘asher) speak My Words (dabar – communicate My message), let him communicate (dabar) My Word (dabar) truthfully and reliably (‘emeth – faithfully, dependably, and accurately). What does (mah) the straw (ha teben – the chaff, the light, dry, brittle stubble which is easily blown by the wind) have in common with (la ‘eth) the grain (bar – the fruit and the son)?’ prophetically asks (na’um) Yahowah ( - - יהוה).” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:28)
Life is about choice. We are all given the opportunity to trust men or God, place our faith in religion or engage in the Covenant Relationship. As was the case in the Garden of Eden, God allows the advocates of the options which are opposed to Him to have their say. If people can’t distinguish between that which is valuable and that which is worthless, then that is their loss.
“‘So therefore (ken) concerning this (la), look to Me (hineh – pay very close attention to Me) before the prophets, for I am against the prophets (‘al ha naby’ – I am over and opposed to those who claim to convey inspired revelations),’ declares (na’um – announces in advance) Yahowah ( - ). I am against the individuals (‘iysh – men) who secretly steal, taking (ganab – who clandestinely conspire to rob, taking away without permission) My Words (dabary) away from (min) their fellow countrymen (rea’ – associates, companions, race, and neighbors).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:30)
Yahowah is condemning the translators and publishers of bibles who clandestinely conspire to rob His people of His message without His permission by removing the valuable words which comprise it, while leaving valueless ones in their place. The corruption of bible translation is a very serious crime with egregious consequences.
If you want lies, look to men, especially religious clerics. If you want truth, look to God.
“‘Pay attention and look to Me (hineh), I am against (‘al – opposed to) the pontifications (naba’) of deceptive and misleading (seqer – dishonest and errant) revelations and messages in which there are claims of inspiration (halowm),’ declares (na’um) Yahowah (Yahowah).
‘And yet (wa) they recount and write them (saphar – they proclaim and record them) and thereby (wa ‘eth), they cause My people (‘am – My family) to go astray and wander away (ta’ah – to be deceived and falter, missing the way) through (ba) their lies (seqer – deceptive and misleading statements, their vain and fraudulent messages), and through (ba) their insolent, arrogant, and reckless speech (pachazuwth – their self-willed, stubborn, wanton, and false extravagance).
I (‘any) did not (lo’) send them (salah) and did not (wa lo’) instruct, teach, guide, or direct them (sawah – provide them with any guidance or authority). And so they are of absolutely no value whatsoever (wa lo’ ya’al ya’al – they are of no benefit of any kind and they accomplish nothing which is useful or good) to the family (la ha ‘am – on behalf of the people), thus (zeh) declares (na’um) Yahowah (Yahowah).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:32)
God has stated the obvious and yet it’s seldom considered reality that He is opposed to religion because the religious mislead His people and cause them to go astray—wandering away from Him. And since there is no religious institution on earth which conveys Yahowah’s Word accurately, completely, or truthfully, every religion falls under this condemnation. According to God, every religion on Earth is valueless, completely and totally worthless. They speak for man, not for God.
“‘And when (wa ky) the people (‘am) ask you (sa’al – question you) about this (ha zeh), or alternatively (‘ow), the prophet (naby’ – the one who claims inspiration), or even (‘ow) the priest or minister (kohen – government advisor, policy maker, and teacher) question you (sa’al) so as to say (la ‘amar), “What is (mah) Yahowah’s (Yahowah’s) prophetic declaration (masa’ – inspired revelation and authorized promise)?” and you respond to them (wa ‘amar ‘el ‘eth), “What (mah) prophetic revelation (masa’ – authorized promise and inspired declaration)?” then (wa) I will reject, forsake, and abandon you all (natas – reject and withdraw from you, separating Myself from you, disassociating with you),’ prophetically declares (na’um – reveals in advance by way of inspiration in an authorize message) Yahowah ( - - יהוה).” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:33)
If someone doesn’t care enough about God or what He has to say to read and listen to Yah’s Word, to observe, to examine, and to consider His prophetic declarations, inspired revelations, and authorized promises, then they should not be surprised when He pronounces that He wants nothing to do with them. And while that is stated unequivocally, as it is what “natas – reject and forsake” means, what’s implied by this context is that if a person is more comfortable with, if they prefer, or have put their faith in the message promoted by a religious institution, there is no hope of them ever associating with Yahowah.
“‘And the prophet (naby’ – the one who makes claims of inspiration and authorization) and the priest and minister (kohen – government advisor, policy maker, and teacher), and the people (‘am – the family) who (‘asher – as a result of their relationship) speak about (‘amar – respond to, inquire about, share, focus upon, declare, and proclaim) the prophetic declaration (masa’ – the authorized promise and inspired revelation) of Yahowah ( ), I will pay attention to, attend to, accept, and look after (paqad ‘al – I will be concerned about, seek, take stock of, value, summon, and gather) that individual (ha huw’ ‘iysh) and his Godly family and home (wa ‘al beyth – and also on behalf of his household).’” (Yirmayahuw / Yah Lifts Up / Jeremiah 23:34)
The one and only thing which differentiates a person who is rejected by God from one who is accepted by Him, is a person’s response to Yahowah’s prophetic pronouncements, His inspired revelation and authorized promises. Therefore, it is in our interest, in our family’s interest, that we “‘amar – speak about, respond to, inquire about, share, focus upon, declare, and proclaim” Yah’s Word.
Within this “religious” context, the God who pronounces judgment and absolves from judgment instructed Yahowchanan to scribe: “To the messenger (aggelos – the spiritual teacher and envoy who is sent) of the called out (ekklesia) in Pergamos (Pergamos – city in Asia Minor, from perga, meaning citadel of the earth) write (grapho – use a pen and letters to scribe): ‘These things (hode) relates (lego – communicates) He who holds (echo) the swift and sharp (oxus – keen and quick) double-edged (distomos – dual mouthed; from stoma—mouth, by implication language) sword (rhomphaia – device used for piercing and cutting).” (Revelation 2:12)
It is interesting to note that the English word “parchment” is derived from the Latin pergamena. The reason behind this connection is that the Egyptians, who controlled the production of papyrus, would not give sufficient quantities of papyrus to the Pegamosians for them to build a library which might potentially rival Alexandria. So to circumvent this problem, the Pergamosians perfected the art of preparing animal skins for writing. This trait is telling because it was through the Latin Vulgate (first written on parchment) that Catholics would control access to the Word of God. Depriving common people of owning Scripture, enabled priests to corrupt its message without consequence, and became the primary means the Catholic Church used to control the minds and lives of their victims.
Speaking of “writing,” Yahowsha’ asked Yahowchanan “lego – to write” down His prophetic proclamations, just as Yahowah had asked Moseh “katab – to write” every word of the Towrah. God likes to communicate in writing because it gives the maximum number of people, over the greatest period of time, the most accurate access possible to His instructions. We are the beneficiaries.
And speaking of becoming “beneficiaries,” the conclusions we make regarding Yahowah’s written testimony determine our fate. That process which underlies this essential choice is all about judgment, which in turn is about separation: deciding what is true and what is false, so that we can discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad. So by selecting “distomos – double-edged” in this context, Yahowsha’ is telling us that the “rhomphaia – sword” is symbolic of judgment. Comprised of dis, conveying “dual” and stoma, meaning “mouth,” distomos reveals that Yahowsha’s testimony will affect people differently depending upon the choices they make regarding His message.
While it is instructive to know that Yahowsha’ was not quick to wield a sharp sword, but instead swift to communicate cutting words to those deceived by Satan, Christians have been led to believe that Yahowsha’ was patient and accepting, when in fact, especially when it came to exposing Satanic deceptions, His condemnations were swift and acerbic. And no matter how unpopular, we would all be wise to follow His example.
As we move into Yahowsha’s next sentence, we are going to read something so horrific, so distressing, so disorienting, it’s essential we get our bearings. We know that Yahowchanan spent most of his life in an around Ephesus. This, combined with the fact that Yahowsha’ choose him to write the book of Revelation, it’s readily apparent that he authored the accommodations afforded the Ekklesia at Ephesus, where Paul’s words were rejected as false. While we aren’t told, and thus must surmise from the location and commentary, Smyrna, as the next town up the Aegean Coast from Ephesus was influenced favorably by Yahowchanan and adversely by Sha’uwl. But that is where the speculation ends. Luke reports in the 16th chapter of the book of Acts that it was Paul who visited Pergamos, as well as its Lydian neighbors (and the next cities on Yahowsha’s list) Thyatira and Sardis. Based upon what follows, it is yet another kink in his faux apostolic armor.
“I am aware of (eido – I know about) the place where (pou) you live (katoikeo – the things associated with the area in which you reside, are influenced, are governed, and worship): the location of (hopou – the rationale and reason underlying; from hos, the who and what of, pou, a particular the place of) Satan’s (Satanas – the Adversary’s, the one who opposes, the evil spirit’s) seat of power (thronos – throne and chair from which [Satan] rules).” (Revelation 2:13)
Therefore, according to Yahowsha’, and the Book of Acts, Satan’s most influential place on earth is an ekklesia crafted by Paul. The self-proclaimed Apostle has become what Yahowsha’ had predicted: “You must be alert, carefully examine, prosecute, and turn away (prosechete – you should pay close attention, watch out for and beware of, guarding yourself) from false prophets who come to you from within dressed in sheep’s clothing, yet they actually are wolves who are exceptionally self-promoting and self-serving (harpax – vicious carnivorous thieves who secretly and deliberately rob, extort, and snatch away; from harpazo: to violently, forcibly, and eagerly claim and seize for oneself and pluck away).” (Mattanyah / Matthew 7:15)
The Greek Satanas is a transliteration of the Hebrew satan. In Scripture, satan is used as a verb on six occasions to convey: “to accuse, to be hostile to, and to be in opposition to.” It is used as a common noun nine times to describe an “adversary, antagonist, or slanderer.” And in fourteen verses, all but three of which are in Yowb / Job, Satan is deployed as the title of “the Adversary.”
In First Chronicles 21:1 we learn: “And Satan (satan) stood up against Yisra’el, and provoked Dowd.” So Dowd / David wrote: “They who render evil for good are my adversaries (satan) because I follow good.” (Mizmowr / Psalm 38:21). Speaking of his love for Yahowah, and the rejection of God by others, especially Satan, Dowd said: “For my love they are my adversaries (satan), as I communicate with God.” (Mizmowr / Psalm 109:4) Then in the 29th verse of the same Psalm, the king exposed the weapon the Adversary uses to beguile mankind: “Let my adversaries (satan) be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion.”
Since Yahowah refers to Satan as the “Serpent” in Bare’syth, it isn’t until Bamidbar 22:22 that satan is actually deployed in the Towrah. There we find: “And the Almighty’s anger was kindled because he went and resisted the messenger of Yahowah ( ) in the way, because the Adversary (satan) was opposed to Him.” The 32nd verse of the same passage concludes with: “Behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse in My presence.”
One of the more enlightening passages regarding satan, in that the word is used as a title and a verb, is found in Zakaryah / Zechariah 3:1: “And He showed me (ra’ah – allowed me to see) Yahowsha’ ( ) the High (gadowl – exceedingly great, powerful, and important) Priest (kohen – Minister who teaches and serves God) present and standing (‘amad – taking a stand) as (la) the face and presence (paneh) of the Messenger (mal’ak – the supernatural spiritual representative) of Yahowah ( ). And the Adversary (ha satan) was present near His right side to oppose Him (satan – to accuse Him, hostilely slander and antagonize Him).”
Satan exists to oppose Yahowsha’, because Yahowsha’ is Yahowah’s only means to be seen by and save mankind. Should Satan be successful in slandering Yahowah’s Messenger and Servant, misrepresenting His nature and mission, then all is lost—His revelations and sacrifices are for naught. And that is precisely what Satan accomplished through Paul’s letters, in that they disassociated Yahowsha’ from Yahowah and the Towrah, rendering Him a meaningless caricature. By misrepresenting Yahowah’s Word, and by corrupting Yahowsha’s purpose, Paul’s epistles are slander of the highest order.
As a result, in Yowb / Job 1:7 we discover where Satan spends his time: “And Yahowah ( ) said to Satan (satan), ‘From where did you come?’ Satan (satan) answered Yahowah ( ), and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’”
Returning to this stunning statement in Revelation, we are compelled to confront the fact that Yahowsha’ just called the most religious place on earth the seat of Satan’s power. According to God there is a direct correlation between religion and the Devil. The Adversary has used Catholic – Universalism, conceived by Paul on behalf of Satan, and developed by Constantine during the Pergamos period, to deceive, destroy, and damn the unwary. Prophetically, Catholicism has just been called “Satan’s Seat of Power.”
In the context of time, this indictment is especially chilling. There is no denying that the Pergamos period coincides with the end of the persecution of the ekklesia spoken of in the Smyrna letter and with the birth of the hierarchal church of compromise addressed in this epistle. Therefore, Catholicism is the lone candidate for this indictment.
The One who swiftly wields cutting words capable of piercing souls, says of this assembly and its adherents: “You live and are governed by the people and place where Satan does his bidding.” Prophetically, Catholicism is being called a community controlled by Satan.
So in this most hellish place and time, Yahowsha’ reminds us of Yirmayahuw’s admonition. “But (kai) you can actually grab hold of and be empowered by (krateo – you can really be strengthened by possessing and holding fast to) My (mou) personal and proper name (onoma).”
The verb krateo, translated “you can actually grab hold of and be empowered by,” was dictated by Yahowsha’ in the second person singular (you) present, active, indicative tense. This means that the Pergamosians could actually be empowered by Yahowsha’s name at this very moment, and at any time thereafter, so long as they took the initiative. But alas, the Catholic Church has gone in the opposite direction, banning the use of Yahowah’s name in their worship services, and replacing the Ma’aseyah’s name and title with “the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Catholics will tell you that it doesn’t matter what name you call Him, so long as you know that He is the Son of God. But Yahowsha’ just said that the solution to Satan’s influence is His “onoma – personal and proper name.” His onoma is absolutely not “the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The “Lord” is Satan’s title, in that it defines his ambition, which is “to lord over men, controlling them.” It is the opposite of Yahowah’s intent. This title is based upon the Hebrew Ba’al, a designation which Yahowsha’ will soon, and Yahowah repeatedly, associates with Satan.
We can say with absolute certainty that no one living in the first century CE was named “Jesus.” The letter “j” and its requisite hard sound wouldn’t come exist in any language for another one thousand six hundred years. And while “Jesus” is meaningless, and bears no resemblance to Yahowsha’, it is an exacting transliteration of the Druid Savior, Gesus, the son of the Horned One. And this transliteration error, if we wish to be that dismissive, cannot be attributed to the Greek corruptions of “Iesou, Iesous, or Iesoun,” because they were never actually scribed on any pre-Constantine manuscript of the eyewitness accounts.
The consequence of this corruption was to annul the association between Yahowah and Yahowsha’. Severing this connection served as the underlying premise of Paul’s letters, just as it serves as the foundation of Roman Catholicism. The moment Yahowsha’s actual identity is removed by way of a corrupt name, His nature and purpose are subject to manipulation—especially when the Word of God is disassociated with the Towrah. And it was in this way that Paul and Constantine remodeled Yahowsha’ in the image of Dionysus and Bacchus, creating a religious caricature embodying the haunting echoes of Babylon. This “Jesus” is Satan’s ploy, and is incapable of saving anyone.
The meaning of Yahowsha’ is “Yahowah Saves.” By bearing Yahowah’s name it becomes immediately obvious that Yahowsha’ is related to Yahowah, not Zeus. Yahowsha’s name affirms that He represents Yahowah, serving as His “ra’ah – visual manifestation,” as His “kohen – Minister” and as His “mal’ak – Messenger.” Yahowsha’ means that Yahowah is the source of our salvation. And from this realization, it is then just one tiny step to the recognition that God’s plan of salvation is described in the Towrah.
The case against “Christ” is even stronger. Once again, the errant title which has evolved into a last name (as in: “in Christ’s name we pray, Amen) cannot be justified as a transliteration of “Christos, Christou, or Christon.” Not only is Yahowsha’s title uniformly represented by a Divine Placeholder in every first, second, and third-century manuscript of the eyewitness accounts of Matityahu, Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob, these early manuscripts tell us that the Greek term upon which the placeholder was derived, was Chrestus, not Christos. Chrestus is an acceptable translation of Massa’yah, in that it means: “useful implement and upright servant.” Whereas christos was used in Classic Greek to describe the “application of drugs.” Further, the oldest Greek manuscripts affirm that the first followers of The Way were called “Chrestusians,” not “Christians,” and thus were “useful implements and upright servants,” rather than “drugged.”
The power of salvation, of life itself, resides in Yahowah’s name. A god by any other name is false, and thus unreliable.
According to Yahowah, and affirmed by Yahowsha’, the Towrah is “the truth.” He said: “Yahowah’s ( ) Towrah (towrah – teaching, direction, instruction, and guidance) is complete and entirely perfect (tamym – without defect, lacking nothing, correct, sound, genuine, right, helpful, healthful, beneficial, and true), returning, restoring, and transforming (suwb – turning around) the soul (nepesh – consciousness). Yahowah’s ( ) testimony is trustworthy and reliable (‘aman – verifiable, confirming, supportive, and establishing), making understanding and obtaining wisdom (hakam – educating and enlightening oneself to the point of comprehension) simple for the open-minded.” (Mizmowr / Psalm 19:7)
Therefore, Yahowsha’ told the Pergamosians who had yet to be corrupted by Paul’s poison pen and Constantine’s ego: “And also (kai) you had not denied, renounced, contradicted, or disregarded (ouk arneomai – you have not verbally repudiated knowledge of the covenant, disavowed the relationship, or refused to follow the consent agreement, rejecting, refusing, or abrogating the Word concerning) My (mou) trustworthiness and reliability (pistis – that which is true and reliable), ” (Revelation 2:13)
The negation of the verb arneomai, rendered “you had not denied, renounced, contradicted, or disregarded,” was written in the second person singular (you), aorist middle indicative mood. This means prior to the time of this writing in 69 CE, that the Pergamos Ekklesia had clung to Yahowsha’s name and that they had not as of then rejected nor disregarded that which was trustworthy and reliable regarding Him. In this light, arneomai tells us that sometime in the past the Pergamosians “were still in a relationship with the subject,” in this case Yahowsha’, “as He was originally known.” It means that they “had rejected and refused to recognize the newly revised version or interpretation of Him.” But as we know, with the arrival of Constantine’s Universal Religion, that would change.
The conclusion of this sentence is dismissed by most people without a second thought, and yet upon close examination, by crediting “Antipas” as the antidote for Satanic domination, Yahowsha’ completely undermined Paul’s testimony. “ even (kai) in the days in which Antipas (Antipas – to be against everyone; from anti, being in hostile opposition, and pas, all) was My (mou) trustworthy and reliable (pistos – trusting and reliant) witness (martus – one who provides testimony), who was killed (apokteino – separated by slaying) beside you (para – among you while holding a contrary view), in the place where (hopou – where the raison d'être of) the Satan (Satanas – the Adversary) actually dwells (katoikeo – permanently resides and is present, has settled down, indwells and influences others).” (Revelation 2:13)
The Pergamos ekklesia earned but one fleeting line of praise, and even it denoted something which had taken place in their past, not present nor future. They “ouk arneomai – had not renounced, contradicted, nor disregarded” Yahowsha’s “pistis – trustworthiness and reliability.” But this is no longer the case, because by failing to “krateo – actually grab hold of and be empowered by” Yahowsha’s “onoma – personal and proper name,” “Christians” have substituted a name of their own liking—one that they themselves conceived: “Jesus Christ,” for the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’.
By doing so, believers have disassociated Yahowsha’ from Yahowah, rendering their renamed caricature an illusion, as irrelevant and unreliable as Muhammad’s Qur’anic Issa—the Islamic “Jesus.” Simply stated: Jesus cannot save, only Yahowah can.
Not one in a thousand “Christians” even knows Yahowah’s name, much less Yahowsha’s. Christians have had done to them, courtesy of the Catholic Church, what the Yahuwdym of Yirmayahuw’s day had done to them by way of their priests. Men have schemed to cause us to forget that salvation, an everlasting relationship with God, and renewed life all flow from a singular source: Yahowah and His redemptive manifestation, Yahowsha’.
The second lesson is that “trust” in the “trustworthiness” of Yahowsha’ is what is essential, not faith. Antipas was a “pistos – trustworthy and reliable” “martus – witness” because he had been accurately taught what he needed to know to understand Yahowsha’ by someone who actually knew Yahowsha’. But more on this in a moment. But suffice it to say for now, to benefit from Yahowsha’, to be productive as a witness so that others might also come to benefit from Yahowsha’, we must “not disavow nor contradict, reject, refuse, or deny the truthfulness and reliability of Yahowsha’.” And that means that we must come to understand Yahowsha’ as Yahowah’s Servant, His Implement, sent to us to fulfill the Towrah’s promises.
Conviction, when it’s grounded in truth, makes one a worthy witness. Antipas was trustworthy because he trusted and relied upon Yahowsha’, and for no other reason. But unlike faith, which is the byproduct of not knowing, understanding is a prerequisite for trust. And the only way to understand is to study—which is why Yahowah continuously reminds us to “shamar – closely and carefully observe” His Towrah.
The third lesson is that educating people and telling the truth, makes a person very unpopular. Antipas, whose name means “in opposition to everyone,” was a contrarian and thus antiestablishment. There were very few people who agreed with Antipas, and that is because Yahowah’s Towrah stands in opposition to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Secular Humanism.
Earlier this week, as I was editing this chapter, I exchanged emails with an articulate, albeit horribly misguided, Catholic apologist. After praising the writings of Thomas Acquinas (rather than Yahowah’s), he asked me to list someone else who interpreted the Towrah the same way I did. And while the obvious answer was Moseh, Dowd, Ezekiel, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel, to cite the names in a manner the Catholic would recognize, as well as Yahowsha’, Yahowchanan, Mattanyah, Shim’own Kephas, Ya’aqob, and Antipas, an equally valid answer would be “almost no one.” Antipas means “against all” because most everyone is opposed to Yahowah’s Towrah. There is a reason that Yahowah began the Statements He etched in stone by quantifying the number of those who would “shamar – observe” His instructions sufficiently to understand them. His number was “thousands” among billions, or one in a million.
Yahowsha’s example, Antipas, was worthy of Divine acclaim because he opposed the religious teachings of Satan’s most influential messenger: Paul. And this is the third time in three letters that Yahowsha’ has praised what the world condemns: intolerance.
Fourth, this prophetic indictment of the Roman Catholic Church is even more stinging than the previous one. The Pergamos period marks the time in which a “pervasive and influential governing authority” began to “permanently reside in the presence of the people” in open opposition to those with the conviction to witness to the truth. For over a thousand years since the founding of Roman Catholicism by Constantine, the Church has condemned all who have dared expose their deceit, calling Yahowsha’s martus “heretics,” and then killing them.
As valuable as these insights may be, they pale in comparison to another, one hidden from most because it requires an open and curious mind. So let me ask you some questions that you may not have considered. Have you ever wondered why Paul was not chosen by Yahowsha’ to be one of His Disciples even though he was living in Yaruwshalaim at the time and was of a similar age? Did you ever wonder why Paul was not chosen to write Revelation? After all, the seven open letters were written to Gentile Assemblies, and Paul claimed that “God had commanded him” to be their “Apostle.” Have you ever wondered why Paul boldly and vociferously pronounces himself “an Apostle,” without so much as a shred of independent corroboration? Have you ever wondered why Paul begins all of his letters claiming to speak on behalf of “Jesus Christ” and yet never once quotes anything He actually said? Have you ever wondered how Paul could consistently dismiss and demean the Towrah, and yet speak for the God who authored the Towrah?
With the Disciple Yahowchanan living in Ephesus, have you ever wondered why Paul was so overtly opposed to the teaching they were receiving? Have you ever wondered why, since we know that Paul traveled through Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis after leaving Antioch and before arriving in Troas on his second tour (the one following the rebuke at the Yaruwshalaym Summit for contradicting the Towrah), Paul was not credited with being Yahowsha’s “trustworthy and reliable witness?” Was not Paul the most prolific witness—especially to the Gentiles? Did Paul not repeatedly claim that he was Yahowsha’s witness “by the commandment of God?” Have you ever wondered why save Luke, who for a time may simply have been acting as Paul’s physician, all of Sha’uwl’s deputies and companions abandoned him and he died alone in a manner, time, and place unknown to anyone? Have you ever considered the fact that Paul alone fulfills all of Yahowsha’s prophetic warnings about “wolves in sheep’s clothing who deceive from within,” “false prophets who would claim to see Him and speak for Him,” and “self-proclaimed Apostles who lie?”
The mention of Antipas’s name compelled me to reconsider all of those questions—not because we know anything about Antipas, but instead because we know almost nothing about him. I was curious to know why Yahowsha’ spoke so highly of him, and not of the other characters we have come to know.
While dubious tradition tells us that Antipas was thrown into the heated brazen bull which stood at the entrance of the temple of Diana, and was thus roasted alive, we know nothing about Antipas from his writings (because there were none), from Paul’s writings (because there was no relationship between them), or from the Book of Acts (because most of it is based upon Paul’s testimony). And that means that Antipas was educated by Yahowchanan, not Paul. Had Antipas been a devotee of Sha’uwl he would have been called a “beloved brother, fellow worker and soldier,” not unlike the long list of Pauline cohorts praised and then rebuked throughout Paul’s epistles. Two of them, Titus and especially Timothy, were deputized by Paul, serving as his apostles. Their names are prominent in Acts and throughout the self-proclaimed Apostle’s letters—including the three written directly to them in which they are encouraged to follow in his footsteps.
So since Antipas was cited as being Yahowsha’s “truthful and reliable witness,” rather than Paul or any of his associates, let’s consider the other candidates—those who didn’t make Yahowsha’s list:
Barnabas – meaning Son of a Prophet, was evidently Paul’s pet name for Yoseph, who was said to be a Lowy / Levite. We are told that he “laid his money at the Apostles’ feet” in Acts 4:36-37. Initially, Barnabas and Paul were a team, partners during Sha’uwl’s initial travels though Syria, Cyprus, Lyconia, and Galatia. As a result, Barnabas introduced the Yaruwshalaym Called-Out Assembly to Paul in Acts 9:26-27. But then, starting a trend others would follow, Barnabas deserted Paul immediately after the Yaruwshalaym Summit. It was in the midst of a “sharp disagreement” blamed on Sha’uwl / Paul not wanting to travel with Mark, but more likely because Paul took an overt stand against both circumcision and the Towrah. (Acts 15) We know very little about the remainder of Barnabas’s life, because from the 9th chapter on Acts is based almost exclusively on Paul’s testimony. And in Galatians 2:11-14, after condemning Shim’own / Peter, Paul blamed Yahowsha’s Disciple for corrupting Barnabas.
Timothy – meaning Honored as God. There is no question that Paul and Timothy were in love. Whether they were lovers is subject to speculation. They met in the immediate aftermath of the Yaruwshalaym Summit—which was Paul’s darkest hour. Inexplicitly, after opposing God and the Disciples on the issue of circumcision, Paul personally circumcised this young man.
Timothy and Paul were constant traveling companions, and over time Sha’uwl groomed and molded Timothy to be his apostle. We know that they lived together in Lystra, in Macedonia, in Athens, in Thessalonica, in Corinth, and in Ephesus—where Timothy served as Paul’s messenger and attacked those who spoke in favor of Yahowah’s Towrah. (Acts 17:14, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2, and 1 Timothy 1:3-11)
There is also reason to believe that Timothy collaborated on the most overtly Satanic of Paul’s epistles, Second Corinthians, and also on Romans, Paul’s treatise on the Christian religion. When Paul returned to Asia through Macedonia, Timothy waited for him at Troas. (Acts 20: 3-5) Living with Paul in Rome, Timothy may also have contributed to the writing of Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. And as it would transpire, Timothy was the one who was entrusted with copies of most all of Paul’s letters. (2 Timothy 4:13)
Paul concludes his final letter by pleading with Timothy: “to make every effort to come to me soon, for Demas, having loved this present world has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But Tychicus I sent away to Ephesus.” (2 Timothy 4:9-12) Paul then said: “When you do come, bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me.” (2 Timothy 4:13-16)
While it would be too distracting to consider every clue provided in this tearful farewell, please note that Paul wrote that someone “vigorously opposed our teaching,” equating Timothy’s philosophy with his own, and not equating either with Yahowah’s instruction. And that is because in 1st Timothy Paul specifically states that those who were opposed to his teaching in Ephesus were advocating on behalf of the Towrah. Further, no one came to Paul’s defense, and that is because Paul’s rebuke of the Towrah is indefensible. And finally, Paul died alone; even Luke abandoned him in the end.
Titus – meaning the Nurse, is not mentioned by Luke in Acts, but Paul described him to the Corinthians as his “partner, companion, and fellow helper.” Titus joined Paul in Macedonia, (2 Corinthians 7:6-7, 13-15) and was the currier of the overtly demonic second epistle to the Corinthians. (2 Corinthians 8:6, 17) He was then sent by Paul to Crete to “pick and install elders.” (Titus 3:12) He is described as Paul’s “zealous and faithful servant.” (2 Corinthians 2:13, 7:6-14, 8:6-23, 12:18, and Galatians 2:1-3) As such, Paul asked Titus to “control the bridle” (Titus 3:11), a remark considered to mean “muzzle the mischievous Judaizers (a.k.a. those who advocate observing the Torah).”
Silas – meaning Third. Following the Yaruwshalaym Summit, Silas was sent by Shim’own Kephas and Ya’aqob ostensibly to reign in Paul’s tendency to demean the Towrah. Mentioned often by Luke (Acts 15:22-40, 16:19-25, 17:4-15, and 18:5), the only reference by Paul is second billing to Timothy in 1 & 2 Thessalonians and 2 Corinthians—all of which were written in quick succession. We know almost nothing of him.
Mark – short for Marcus, the name means Defense. He was saved as a result of Shim’own Kephas’s testimony. (1 Peter 5:13) And based upon Shim’own’s testimony, Mark scribed the eyewitness account of the Ma’aseyah’s life which erroneously bears his name. He then accompanied Paul, based upon his relationship with Barnabas, during their first journey. But Mark left them at Perga. Paul then specifically separates himself from Mark following the Yaruwshalaym Summit, and Mark and Barnabas travel together to Cyprus. (Acts 12:12, 25, 13:5, 13, and 15:37, 39) Mark isn’t seen again with Paul until his house arrest in Rome, where he was commended to the Colossians. (Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 24) But from this point on, Mark is seen accompanying Shim’own Kephas, whom he serves as scribe and translator.
Luke – short for Loukanos, meaning White, traveled extensively with Paul. He is considered a Gentile by Christians even though he was in all likelihood a Yisra’elite physician. Luke of course was the author of the books of Luke and Acts, both of which were intended as letters to his friend Theophilus, whom we know almost nothing. Paul mentions him three times by name: Philemon 24, Colossians 4:14, and 2 Timothy 4:11.
Based upon the use of “we” in Acts 16:10, we can surmise that Luke first appears in the dialog at Troas and then accompanies Paul to Philippi, where he remained. He is again with Paul in Yaruwshalaym (Acts 20:5-6, 13), which is probably when he interviewed Shim’own Kephas and Ya’aqob to create the book bearing his name. The author’s whereabouts are then unknown during the following several years, but Luke reappears just as Paul was being sent to Rome, perhaps serving as his physician during this time his health was failing. (Acts 27:1 and 2 Timothy 4) We also know that Luke was with Paul during the writing of Colossians and Philemon. In fact, long after all of Paul’s companions had deserted him, Luke alone remained at his side. (Philemon 24, Colossians 4:14, and 2 Timothy 4:11) But even Luke would abandon Paul before his death.
There are five narratives in Luke which are not found in the Disciple’s eyewitness accounts, and thus are suspect. These include: Elizabeth’s thanksgiving, Mary’s praise of God, Zakaryah / Zechariah’s exuberant prophecy, the spiritual messenger’s annunciation of the Ma’aseyah’s arrival, and Simeon’s statement of appreciation for living long enough to see the Ma’aseyah. The Book of Acts is accurate initially, in that the first 8 chapters are based almost exclusively on Shim’own Kephas’s testimony. But beginning with the 9th chapter, all we can say is that Luke accurately recorded the testimony of the world’s most egregious liar.
Aquilla – meaning Eagle Hearted, bears a name which serves as a synonym for sun-god worship. He became Paul’s associate in Corinth (Acts 18:2) and was responsible for corrupting Apollos (Acts 18:18-26). Aquilla was with Paul when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:19) and then again when he wrote Romans (Romans 16:3-4). With this exposure to the genesis of Paul’s most influential letters, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aquilla was the author of Hebrews, as its message mirrors Romans and Corinthians.
Apollos – is named after the Greek God Apollo. He preached the same message as Yahowchanan the Immerser (which is that Yahowsha’ was literally stepping out of the pages of the Towrah) before Paul and Aquilla corrupted him with Pauline Doctrine. (Acts 18:18-26)
Archippus – meaning Chief Horse, was not-so-coincidently described by Paul as a “fellow soldier.” (Philemon 2 and Colossians 4:17)
Aristarchus – meaning Best Ruler, was Paul’s companion on several journeys, including his trip to Rome. Paul refers to him as “my fellow prisoner” during his brief house arrest. (Acts 19:29, 20:4, 27:2, Philemon 24, and Colossians 4:10)
Andonichus – meaning the Victory of Man as Lord. He lived with Paul in Rome and is said by some to be the justification for the Dionysus quote “it is hard to kick against the goad.” (Romans 16:7)
Demus – meaning Popular, was a “fellow laborer” with Paul in Rome. (Philemon 24 and Colossians 4:14) Of whom, Paul would later write: “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed to Thessalonica.” (2 Timothy 4:10) So it appears that Yahowsha’, Shim’own, Ya’aqob, Yahowchanan, and Barnabas were not the only ones to reject Pauline Doctrine.
Epaphroditus – meaning Lovely, brought supplies to Paul from Philippi. The recipient described him as “my brother and companion in labor and a fellow soldier.” (Philemon 2:25 and 4:18)
Erastus – meaning Beloved, ministered to Paul. After which, he was sent by Paul to Macedonia. Later he is found living in Corinth, where he became Paul’s treasurer. (Acts 19:22, 2 Timothy 4:20, and Romans 16:23)
Gaius – meaning “On Earth,” was in Ephesus with Paul. He was seized there and carried into the theater during an uproar over the “proposed deposition of the great goddess Artemis from her magnificence.” (Acts 19:26-29) He became one of Paul’s companions following his conversion in Derbe, Lycaonia. (Acts 20:4) Paul described Gaius as “his host” in Romans 16:23, and it was in Gaius’s home that Paul wrote Romans.
Lucius – Unfortunately, Lucius serves as the basis of the Latin name for Satan, Lucifer, meaning Light Bearer. He was a prophet from Cyrene in Antioch. After “prayer and fasting, he laid hands on Barnabas and Paul and sent them away.” (Acts 13:1,3)
Philemon – meaning the One Who Kisses, isn’t known apart from the two paragraph letter Paul wrote to him. Other than telling us that Philemon owned a slave, there is no merit to this man’s mention or letter.
Tychicus – meaning Fortunate, was sent by Paul from Rome to Ephesus and then later from Colossae to Ephesus ostensibly to advance Pauline Doctrine and counteract the influence of Yahowchanan. Paul describes Tychicus as “a beloved brother, a faithful minister, fellow servant, and the faithful messenger who informed others of his circumstances.” (Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7-8, 2 Timothy 4:12, Titus 3:12)
Tyrannus – meaning Tyrant, was yet another of Paul’s Ephesian apostles, explaining why Yahowsha’ warned of more than one. For two long years Paul preached in Tyrannus’s school in the city of Ephesus. (Acts 19:9-10)
So there are 18, or three sixes
The reason this detour into the life and times of Sha’uwl and his companions is important is because the only positive thing Yahowsha’ had to say about Pergamum was directed at the witness of fellow named Antipas, whose name means that he was “against everyone,” not only Paul or one of Paul’s apostles—those whom he had sent out with his message. In light of Paul’s repeated protestations that he was commanded by God to preach the message of Yahowsha’ to the Gentiles, and that he was unquestionably trustworthy, this is awesomely troubling, effectively undermining his credibility. It is obvious that Yahowsha’ did not agree with Paul’s assessment of himself.
In the light of Yahowsha’ commending the Ephesians for acknowledging that the self-proclaimed apostles were liars (plural), it is also germane to our evaluation of his veracity to recognize that in Ephesus Paul either dispatched or was supported by Timothy, Gaius, Tychicus, and Tyrannus.
As for Paul personally claiming that He was an “apostle,” let’s quickly consider the opening statement of Paul’s epistles in the order he wrote them. In this review I will cite the Christian interpretation from the New American Standard Bible for emphasis and efficiency.
Paul began: “Paul, an Apostle, not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you .” (Galatians 1:1-3)
The second and third epistles from Paul’s hand open with: “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you ” (1 & 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2) In the first of these letters, Paul told the assembly he had established: “You also become imitators of us,” where “us” includes Timothy—Paul’s most vocal Ephesian troubadour. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) Again, this is important because Yahowsha’s letter to Ephesus speaks of false and lying “self-proclaimed Apostles” plural, not singular. And as we shall have Paul himself affirm, Timothy was his partner in Ephesus, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Further, after Paul confessed to the Thessalonians: “For we wanted to come to you—I Paul, more than once—but Satan thwarted us,” he wrote: “so we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.” (1 Thessalonians 2:18, 3:2) Even if others may not agree, Paul clearly saw and presented Timothy as his apostle—someone he had prepared and dispatched with his message.
The self-proclaimed Apostle initiates his fourth epistle with these words: “Paul, called an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes, to the church of God which is at Corinth.... Grace to you ” (1 Corinthians 1:1-3) And yet we do not have any corroborating evidence that Paul served “by the will of God,” and what we do have from Yahowsha’ suggests the opposite.
Then in the preamble of the letter where he admitted to being demon possessed, Paul boasted: “Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and brother Timothy to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints throughout Achaia, Grace to you....” (2 Corinthians 1:1-2) Based upon this greeting, and the two written to Thessalonica, it is not a stretch to consider Timothy a collaborator. Also, you may have noticed that contrary to what he had written in his first four epistles, in this letter for the first time Paul correctly presented the Ma’aseyah’s title before His name.
Paul’s sixth, and most influential letter began: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called an Apostle set-apart for the Gospel of God...through whom we have received Grace and Apostleship to bring about obedience of faith among all the Gentiles.” (Roman’s 1:1,5) In this case there can be no argument in favor of being “called an Apostle,” or “Apostleship” being translated “dispatched messenger.” It is clearly being used as a title, which Paul is overtly bequeathing upon himself.
We can surmise from the internal and external evidence that Paul’s next three letters, his seventh, eighth, and ninth, were written at the same time and place, albeit to different audiences. So in no particular order we find: “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae. Grace to you ” (Colossians 1:1-2)
Then: “Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God to the saints who are at Ephesus who are faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you .” (Ephesians 1:2) Here it should be noted that the name Ephesus is not found in the text of the oldest witness to this letter, but it is included in all subsequent manuscripts. Further, the fact that Paul spent more time in Ephesus than any other place, and that he sent more emissaries there than elsewhere, and that all of his other letters were addressed to the specific places or people he had influenced, combined with the internal references, there is more than sufficient justification to assign the Ephesus address as most every translation has done.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul complains that others are “preaching Christ from envy and strife knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” “For I know that I shall not be put to shame in anything.”
Even in his personal letter to his life partner, Timothy, Paul wrote: “Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith, Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than God’s provision which is faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Towrah, even though they do not understand either what the are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that the Torah is not made of a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which I have been entrusted.” (1 Timothy 1:1-11)
And for more of the same we find: “Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” (2 Timothy 1:1-4)
Even in his personal ditty to Titus, the only self-proclaimed Apostle wrote: “Paul, a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God even His Word, in the proclamation of with, which I was entrusted according to the Commandment of God our Savior, to Titus, my true child in a common Faith, Grace ” (Titus 1:1-4)
Oddly, while the self-proclaimed Apostle dispenses with his title in his short two paragraph note to Philemon, he admits: “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy, our brother, to Philemon, our beloved and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the church in you house, Grace ” (Philemon 1-3)
Case made, culprits identified, let’s turn to the Towrah and consider what Yahowah has to say about their doctrine of Balaam. It is discussed in this next passage, which can be found in Midabar / Numbers chapter 22-25. It is also covered in Second Shim’own / Peter, a letter that will form the basis of the “Pareisago – Clandestine Conspiracy” chapter.
Admonitions against the religion of Lord/Ba’al form the basis of Howsha’ / Hosea and Yirmayah / Jeremiah. Scripture tells us that Balaam was a pagan priest who practiced witchcraft in Babylon. He was hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites. When Yahowah restrained Balaam, his shrewd and wicked religious clerics invited the Yahuwdym to the licentious feast of Baal-peor. We find the results of this evil assembly in the verse:
“Yisra’el remained in Shittim (sitym – those who hate, are opposed, and bear a grudge, cherishing animosity, resisting and acting adversarially). The people (‘am – family) became profane, defiled, desecrated and polluted (halal – pierced and wounded, disrespectful and irreverent, acting dishonorably) committing acts of fornication, becoming harlots and whores (zanah – as and with unfaithful religious cult prostitutes) in sexual intercourse with (‘el) the daughters (bath – the young girls) of Moab (Mow’ab – a son of Lot by his eldest daughter; meaning from her father). And they called (qara’ – summoned and invited) the people (‘am – family) to the sacrifices (zebach – offerings of animals killed and presented as an act of worship, expiation, or propitiation to a deity) to their gods (‘elohym). And the people ate and bowed down, prostrating themselves in homage (shachah) to their gods. Yisra’el joined (tsamad – attached herself and became bound together with, shared common beliefs and worshiped) Ba’al-Pa’owr (ba’al pa’owr – the Lord’s wide and gaping opening). Yahowah’s ( ) anger was kindled against (harah – became hot and furious, burning against) Yisra’el.” (Bamidbar / In the Wilderness / Numbers 25:1-3)
Ba’al (Lord), Bel (Lord), Ba’al-Pa’owr (the Lord’s Opening), and Ba’al-Beryth (the Lord’s Covenant) are derivations and expansions on Halal’s name and title, “Lord”—which may be why the basis of his name, “halal,” was imbedded in this passage. In this light it’s hard to fathom why every English Bible erases Yahowah’s personal name from the text He inspired and replaces it with the name of the false god the real God just condemned.
The doctrine of Ba’al is for those who dwell in Shittim—“the place where God is opposed and hated, the place of the adversary who bears a grudge.” Satan found one of mankind’s biggest weaknesses, a gapping hole he could exploit—sexual perversion. It is little wonder that the Socialist Secular Humanists advocating Political Correctness and the New World Order, advocate licentiousness. But be forewarned. If you choose to defile yourself irreverently, committing acts of fornication in accordance with man’s revised morality, bowing down to their false gods and errant doctrines, and share their beliefs, you will be seen as having joined them. Attached to them, you will share their fate, enduring Yahowah’s anger.
Now that you know who the players are, and what’s at stake, here’s what Yahowsha’ said next to the Pergamosians. As I have suggested several times in the past, I encourage you to read the bold text of these next two verses through first, prior to considering the full implications of each word.
Yahowsha’ transitions from His lifesaving advice to the name of the adversary in a single word: “In opposition (allah – as the antithesis and on the contrary) I hold (echo – possess, have, and view) a few things against you, because you hold fast to (echo - have relations with, are possessed by, and are joined to) that place where (ekei) the control and power of (krateo – the ruling Lords and Masters possess, obtain, seize, manipulate, and retain) the doctrines and teachings (didache – public religious instructions) of Balaam (a transliteration of the name of the false and demonic Babylonian prophet) are taught (didasko – delivered as a discourse from an official teacher, preacher, or politician). Balak (the Moabite king) throws (ballo – scatters not caring where something falls, acquiesces regardless of the result) a snare (skandalon – the trigger of a trap, a stumbling block that leads to entrapment and death, an impediment placed in one’s way) in front of (enopion – in the presence of, before and against) the children of ΙΗΛ (placeholder for Yisra’el, meaning, those who endure with and are empowered by God) to eat things sacrificed to idols (eidolothuton – compound of eidolon, an image or likeness, real or imaginary, and thuo, to sacrifice), and to commit prostitution, engage in immorality, and practice idolatry (porneuo – sexual acts with harlots, fornication, the defilement of the body for money, indulgences, the worship of false gods, and fertility cult religious practices). Indeed (kai), in this manner (houto) you likewise (homoios – similarly and in the same way) regard, possess and hold (echo – have relations with and join, wearing the garb of) those who are empowered by and gain custody over people through (krateo – control and oppress by way of, seize power and rule through, grabbing and maintaining possession by means of) the teachings (didache instructions and doctrines, the religious assemblies) of the Nicolaites, who and which (hos) I hate (miseo – abhor, detest, oppose, and persecute).” (Revelation 2:14-15)
Had there been any doubt, it has now been eliminated. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the people and dogma Yahowsha’ hates, has been defined in unequivocal terms. So that we wouldn’t miss the connection between the Whore of Babylon and the Nicolaites, Yahowsha’ used two different words to convey “in like manner” and “similarly.” The name Nicolaites, which means “to utterly vanquish the laity and obtain superiority over people through opposition and conquest” has been linked directly to the prophets of Ba’al and thus to Satanism, to the politics of power and control, to the religious rites of the Whore of Babylon, to purposeful deception and false teaching, to oppression, idolatry, and immorality. Yahowsha’ has connected the dots for us, defining that which He despises. The Nikolaites embraced the errors of Lord/Ba’al and his Babylonian sungod religion. Those who advocated these doctrines caused people to stumble, ensnaring and entrapping them. They promoted sexual immorality and idolatry as human rights. They coveted sex, money, and power and trampled over people in the name of religion to acquire what they craved.
Krateo isn’t a pleasant word. What little was left to our imagination, was illuminated by its use in connection with the human and satanic schemes Yahowah abhors. It is most often translated “to seize power and arrest people, to take, restrain, and hold others in submission.” According to the Greek poet Homer, krateo means “to possess power through strength, to have the power to control and lord over people.” It is used of political, religious, and military officials who “gain the upper hand through conquest.” Such people “control the masses by imprisoning their opponents.” Those who krateo believe “they have the right to possess people, places, and things.” As such, krateo is the foundation of today’s three greatest menaces: Communism, Catholicism, and Islam. Under Weishaupt’s and Marx’s banner, Mao, Lenin, and Stalin murdered 70 million people in their conquests of control. Constantine’s “Under this sign conquer” and Muhammad’s “I have been made victorious through terror,” all speak to man’s lust for power and control.
In His letter to those enduring the Pergamos period, Yahowsha’ focused on false teaching—just as He had done with Ephesus and Smyrna. Bad ideas are a much bigger problem than bad behaviors because one not only leads to the other, false doctrines separate us from Yahowah. Our Creator is intolerant of false teachings and false teachers. In this regard, the Greek word “echo” is interesting. If one has relations with those who retain and use the words of false prophets, they will come to hold them too. If one even associates with those who proclaim false religions, they will echo their deceptions. They will become a victim of their quest for power and control.
I also find it interesting that the word which defines the moral meltdown of mankind today, “porneuo,” is directly associated with idolizing the wrong thing, indulging the flesh rather than celebrating the spirit. All of it is Satanic—born and bred in Babylon by the Devil himself. Halal wants to be Ba’al, Lord and Master. He lies so as to snare us, creating a stumbling block that leads to death and destruction, to porneuo, hoping that we will echo the false notions that Yahowah detests.
Yahowsha’s warning to those caught in the web of religious, political, and societal lies is unequivocal. “Therefore (oun – consequently, these things being so, indeed as a result) change your way of thinking (metanoeo – reconsider and amend your ways, change your mind and adjust your attitudes), or (de – moreover, or then) otherwise (ei – but if not) I will appear (erchomai – come forth and become known) to you suddenly (tachu – quickly and momentarily without delay) and will be engaged in a war, fighting, quarreling, and disputing (polemeo – battling) with (meta) him or her (autos – as a unique individual, distinct and set apart from others) with piercing and cutting words (rhomphaia stoma – sharp language, a biting tongue, the lance of the mouth, and spearing speech).” (Revelation 2:16)
This is directed at those who simply echoed or clung to the false and oppressive teachings of Universalism, better known as Catholicism. Man has been put on notice. Death will come quickly and when it occurs, those individuals who opted for religion instead of relationship will appear before an unrelenting God. His words will pierce his or her soul. There will be no excuses in this dispute. None of man’s pleas will help: “I went to mass.” “I supported the church.” “I said my prayers.” “I tried my best and led a good life.” Yahowah’s sharp and hostile words will cut through all of this, leaving the victims of religion finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The value of close Scriptural scrutiny becomes especially evident when we consider Yahowsha’s parting comments to the Pergamos ekklesia. English Bibles render “leukos psephos” as “white stone.” While that is a permissible rendering, it misses the entire significance of Yahowsha’s message.
“He who has the ability to listen, let him hear what the ΠΝΑ (placeholder for Ruwach, meaning Spirit, from the Greek pneuma, meaning spirit) says to the ekklesia / out calling. To him who overcomes and prevails I will give manna (manna – a transliteration of the Hebrew mana, or bread from heaven) in secret to eat. And I will give (didomi – grant and bestow, furnish and deliver, reach out, extend, and present a present to) him a light (leukos – that which is bright and brilliant, dazzling and shining white, radiant and gleaming) acquittal stone and invitation (psephos – a white rock which was used in courts to designate a favorable verdict; a rock used as an invitation to a feast; from pselaphao, meaning to seek after, touch and feel the token of a person), and upon (epi) the acquittal stone (psephos - invitation) a new and distinctive (kainos – renewed, more valuable, impressive, and superior) name (onoma – character, authority, rank, resolution, and advantage associated with the personal moniker) in written words engraved (grapho – expressed and described in writing) which (hos – who) no one (ouden) knows (oida – appreciates and understands, is aware of, recognizes and can be sure of) save (eime – except) him who takes hold of it (lambano – is offered, receives, accepts, associates with and holds onto [Him]).’” (Revelation 2:17)
A “token” is a “symbol, an outward sign, an indication, a characteristic, an expression, or manifestation of someone or something that distinguishes them.” All three of Yahowah’s favorites are included in this list. He is the “Rock of our Salvation.” He is “Light.” He is “the Word.” Because psephos was used as an “invitation to a banquet” it is Yahowsha’s ticket to paradise.
There is some dispute as to whether Yahowsha’ said oida/knows or oikeios/family member, relative or household in this verse. The oldest texts show a blending of these words. And in a way, it makes no difference. To know the “most valuable, impressive, and superior name” is to know Yahowah because Yahowah is the name of whom Yahowsha’ was speaking. To know Yahowah is to become a member of His eternal family, to become a son or daughter of God, and to live in His household.
Speaking to the called-out Philadelphian renewed souls who have become upright pillars in Yahowah’s Tabernacle in Revelation 3:12 through the gift of salvation, Yahowsha’ says that He will write Yahowah’s name on them. This is consistent with the Prophets where Yasha’yah reveals:
“So therefore (ken – this is right, just, honest, verifiable, correct, and true), My family (‘am – relatives) shall know (yada’ – possess an awareness of and information regarding it that focuses on relationship, be acquainted with it in a relational sense, discern and recognize) My name (shem).” (Yasha’yah / Isaiah 52:6)
Similarly, the conclusion of the 22nd Mizmowr / Psalm confirms as much: “The entire world shall return and be restored (shuwb – turn around and think differently, reestablishing Spiritual relations, refreshed and renewed) thinking about, paying attention to, recalling, and confessing (zakar – being brought to remembrance so as to declare, recite, proclaim, and commemorate) Yahowah ( ) . Posterity shall serve Him, and it shall be recorded and recounted (saphar – inscribed and proclaimed) to the foundation of the Upright One (‘edon), for a place to dwell over time (dowr – a house, dwelling place, and tabernacle). They shall come conspicuously announcing, exposing and declaring (nagad – explaining and manifesting) His vindication (tsadaqah – declaration of innocence) to a family (‘am) that shall be born that He has accomplished (asah – instituted and bestowed) this.” (Mizmowr / Psalm 22:27, 30-31)
In the Towrah, the same message comes through loud and clear: “By the greatness and magnitude (gadowl) of Your sacrificial Lamb (zarow’a), they [the Lord/Ba’al serving adversaries] will be silenced (damam). Now and forever (‘ad – eternally and continually throughout time) the Rock (‘eben – the stone which establishes and restores) passes over (‘abar) the family (‘am) of Yahowah ( ), eternally (‘ad) passing over (‘abar) the family (‘am) whom (zu) You acquired by purchasing them in a redemptive act (qanah).” (Shemowth / Exodus 15:13)
Do you yada’/know Yahowah? Are you part of His ‘am/family? Have you been qanah/redeemed by the zarow’a/sacrificial lamb? Are you tsadaqah/vindicated? Are you suwb/restored? Do you serve the ‘edon/upright one? Do you zakar/confess Yahowah’s shem/name? Or are you religious, swimming in the cesspool of the Church?
If Yahowsha’ was addressing a letter to you, would it include commendation or condemnation? Would you be Ephesian or Pergamosian? The answer is based entirely upon what you understand, who you know, what you trust, who you rely upon, what you condemn and what you commend.
Sadly, more than a billion people are still living under the influence of Pergamos. The Church born under Constantine is as it has always been: the seat of Satan’s power. But the emperor wasn’t the last bad influence on the assembly. A new epoch begins in 606 CE, with the crowning of Boniface III, the first united and universal Pontifex Maximus. As we shall learn, he raised the stakes, kicking God out of the Church, he invited Satan in. The Dark Ages followed.
Some Catholics will protest that it isn’t fair to pin all of this Satanic influence on them. But Yahowsha’s description fits the Roman Catholic Church perfectly in every respect, right down to the most incriminating details. Constantine’s creation did everything Yahowsha’s rails against, incorporating one Babylonian scheme into the RCC after another, and he did these things precisely when God said he would. So that being historically irrefutable, Catholics are left to protest that if it weren’t for them there would have been no “church.” But that’s misleading. First, God doesn’t have and does not want a “church.” And second, The Way of the Towrah observant grew faster and was healthier before Constantine than after him. The General turned Emperor adapted and then adopted Christianity as the state religion because he would have lost control had he not done so.
And that is the bottom line. Religion has always been about control.