We are growing in maturity in Christ by the power of Christ’s Spirit within us! This is true for us as individuals, but also true for the corporate church in planet earth. God’s grace is restoring and creating the testimony of His name in us in increasing ways. The leaven of the kingdom of God is filling the God-bread of humanity in the earth. The mustard seed is becoming like a tree and it is influencing the dimension of the heavenlies. The stature of Christ has struck the statue of the likeness and image of self upon its feet and the stature of Christ is increasingly filling the nations in the earth. There is no end to the increase of God’s government of grace and His testimony of peace. Mercy has kissed us and Gods overcoming grace is an unstoppable authority and power of life in the earth. What was a firstfruit in the first century of the New Covenant church is increasing in the seasons of harvest in the body of Christ. It is easy to be distracted by the realities of the falling kingdoms of the world, but we must keep our focus on what God is doing in the earth. If we look for the light, we will see the light! If we look for life, we will see life!
I have been stating that the family of God is a culture of children, fathers, and sons. Children know God’s mercy, young men and women overcome by the power of God’s grace, and fathers and mothers have become a testimony of God’s grace and can show God’s mercy to the children of men. This is the growing testimony of the culture of God in the earth. A relationship with God has been given to men and women and the grace of the Spirit of the Lord is changing the desires of our hearts to love Him above all things. Our first Love is Christ and it is Christ in us that is revealing that we are not alone. We have a Father who loves us. The grace of the Spirit of Wisdom is giving victory over every fear of death and eternal life is empowering us to have faith towards God in all things. God is also giving us a grace of the Spirit of Understanding so we can become a testimony of a people who are changed and respond to Him in the glory of Christ’s name.
In the book of Revelation, the seven letters relate to the firstfruit church of the first century and thus set a foundation for the glory of the church in the unfolding ages to come. The letters reveal the grace that comes when we find Jesus standing in the midst of His church. He stands as the testimony of the sevenfold Holy Spirit of God. When we have a revelation of Jesus in our lives we discover the empowerment of God’s grace at work in our live. When we see Jesus, something supernatural happens to cause us to overcome! It is the power of God’s grace at work in our lives!
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…
The letter to the church of Pergamos reveals a testimony of Christ as the Spirit of understanding in our lives. He brings the overcoming grace of a holy testimony that comes by the power of God’s word and Spirit in our lives. He brings about internal and external transformations of who we were to who we were meant to be in Christ.
Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’
This church of Pergamos was commended for their ability to overcome by their testimony as is mentioned in the faithful martyr, Antipas (meaning, likeness of the father, against all). Pergamos was also reprimanded for having some who held to the doctrine of Balaam. Balaam was a false prophet in the Old Testament that was hired by Balak the king of the Moabites to prophesy a curse over Israel. God did not allow him to speak a curse over His people Israel so he counseled Balak to put the women of Moab in the sight of the men of Israel so they would take their daughters as wives. This would cause the children of Israel to receive a curse upon themselves by compromising in their covenant with God (Num. 25). Rather than trusting the heavenly promises and testimonies of God the children of Israel found their identity in other relationships. This is the ultimate sin of intimate immorality and it negates the true testimony of holiness found in a holy God. Some in Pergamos had chosen a testimony of the flesh and not that of a holy nation. Some in the church of Pergamos had held to the doctrine (lifestyle) of the Nicalaitans. The Nicalaitans were a sect of people who sought indulgent liberties in carnality and debauchery. Their testimony was one of the flesh and not of a holy God.
In this letter we see that God’s weapon against the testimony of the flesh would be the ‘the sword of His mouth’. The sword of God’s mouth is the confession of His word. This is not merely a parroted confession of Scripture quotation. It is the testimony of God’s word made real in our lives. It is us becoming an expression of Christ in His character, nature, way, power, and authority. The testimony of a holy God removes the testimony of the flesh. Those who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches are given ‘hidden manna to eat’ and God as the Spirit of Understanding gives them ‘a white stone’ with a name that only the one who receives it knows. This is none other than a personal testimony of God’s word in our lives. It is a changed character, nature, way, power, and authority by the Spirit of Understanding, an aspect of the Holy Spirit that causes us to become a testimony of God’s word.
God’s hidden manna is the freshly spoken word of God in our hearts (the rhea word of God). A white stone is a stone of holiness. It is a stone testifying that we are a holy people. We are a people who have been transformed by the submersions of God. This stone was testified in Jacob’s story of Luz (isolated or separated place) being transformed to Bethel (house of God). Jacob prophetically declared the truth of holy submersions when he poured oil upon the rock (Gen. 28:18). Metaphorically speaking “we may have been cucumbers of the flesh, but the submersions of God’s holy pickle brine has transformed us to become holy pickles inside and out!” We are a holy nation! This is why we spill over to Him with a testimony of being expressions of Him in this world. We are expressions (words) of God’s testimony!
When God’s Word and Spirit come together in our lives we receive a testimony of understanding. God does not teach us with mere words of cognitive instruction. God’s words are expressions of life and they make us come to life. Bread and wine are prophetic symbols of word and spirit and God’s bread and wine is the power of His Word and Spirit that transforms our lives. The Holy Spirit is the gratuity of God in our lives (Acts2: 38 – the word ‘gift’ is the Greek word ‘dorsa’, meaning gratuity’). His submersions of our lives invoke a gratuity from within us. That gratuity is a ‘response level relationship’ to the one who transforms our lives through the one baptism (submersion) of holy life to become known as a holy nation to our God. When Abram received the gift of bread and wine from Melchizedek on his journey (Gen. 14:18-20), Abram’s gratuity of tithe was a testimony to the life-change that comes from the gratuity given by King of Righteousness and the King of Peace in our lives. Let’s spill over with the testimony of understanding through the grace of the Spirit of Understanding in our lives!
Young men and women are those who move beyond being children who receive God’s mercy to become those who are empowered by God’s grace to be a testimony of Christ that overcomes the wickedness in the world. Grace is more powerful than the limitations of the flesh! God’s expressions in our lives will give us a personal testimony, inside and out!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson