Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

Devotion for Today — July 14th

Secret Things

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

Rev 2:14-17

Despite their strengths, two errors were undermining the church at Pergamum: one is called the teaching of Balaam. Balaam was a false prophet who had been hired by the King of Moab to curse Israel, but when he tried to do so, God wouldn’t let him. So he paid beautiful maidens to parade before the young men of Israel, tempting them into sexual immorality. Since these women were worshipers of idols, by that means he introduced idol worship into Israel. The counterpart we face in our day is the practice of pornography and fornication among Christians and the acceptance of couples living together apart from marriage.

They were also being seduced by the error of the Nicolaitans. Along with encouraging immorality, it appears they claimed to have a special relationship to God. They professed to be the beneficiaries of revelations that were not given to others, and they therefore had an inside track with God. They presumed to take the place of the priesthood in Judaism and carried that error into the Christian church. This error is reflected today in the supremacy of pastors who claim to have more intimate relationships with God and thus are regarded as better than the rest of the people.

The way you handle either error is with the two-edged sword! Jesus said, Repent! Otherwise, I will come to you and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. God’s word exposes both the error of immorality and the error of priestly superiority. The reason why the exposition of Scripture is resisted in many churches is that many people do not want to hear this message!

Our Lord's final appeal is to those who will take heed to the warnings of this letter. If they stand fast against immorality and the love of religious power, they will be given the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Notice that both the manna and the new name are secret things. It is a picture of close intimacy. Manna was the food that Moses fed the Israelites in the wilderness. Jesus said, I am the bread sent down from heaven (John 6:41). He is that hidden manna. He is food for the inner spirit, food that others do not know about. Then, with it, is the white stone with a secret name upon it. White stones were used among the Romans as a mark of special favor. A secret name is a sign of intimacy. If you know the Lord Jesus, and your heart is kept from the corrupting influences of the world around, you will enjoy an intimacy with him in which the new nature he has given you (depicted by the new name here) becomes stronger and more developed, and you enter into beautiful fellowship and intimacy with him.

Thank you, Father, for your mercy and grace to me. Thank you for teaching me so plainly and clearly in these letters what I am to face up to. Help me, Lord, to heed what the Spirit says to the churches. Amen.

Life Application

Are you experiencing the intimacy of relationship with Jesus, whereby you feed on hidden manna and rejoice in the new name he’s given you?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Smyrna and Pergamum -- The Pressured Church

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