The Seven Churches of the Church Age

Description of the Church of Ephesus the Apostolic Church with Initial Zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ from 30 to 100 AD in Revelation 2

The Lord Jesus highlights his role as the one that walked in the midst of the seven candlesticks or lampstands in referring to the church of Ephesus. This probably has a twofold meaning. One is that the candlestick or lampstand is a reference of the witness of that church to the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This church had been faithful to maintain in the early or apostolic church when the church made great progress with the great commission in bringing the gospel to much of the Roman world and beyond. A second meaning is that the lampstands in the Jewish temple were in the location where priests served in the holy place associated with the place of God's dwelling in the midst of his people. Jesus mentioned He, as a person of the Godhead, walked in the midst of the candlesticks. Jesus said to the church of Ephesus he knew of their works, labour and patience. This would be especially in reference to work maintaining a good witness and fellowship in the local churches of believers and a good outreach with the gospel to the unsaved. In either of these cases there could also be some attendance to people's practical or emotional needs to make them more receptive to Bible teaching or the gospel or prayer or worship or other means of looking after their spiritual needs. Jesus also compliments this early or apostolic church for their spiritual discernment and boldness to detect and expose false apostles that were a very real threat to the early and not yet well established church of that time. The reference to apostles is another indication that this church is a reference to the early or apostolic church of the 1st century. Although they are not apostles in the same way, the church of today could learn some lessons from this church of Ephesus by exercising more spiritual discernment and having the courage to expose and dissociate themselves from false or unsound "Christian" leaders. Jesus goes on to say that this church had not only continued in Christian living but been faithful and hadn't fainted in Christian service which takes more energy and committment. Jesus' condemnation of this church however was that although they had a good record of Christian life and service they had left their first love which did also happen historically with the church around 100 AD. This was when all the initial genuine apostles had died off and most of the original Christians including those who had eyewitnessed Jesus or his ministry has also passed on. This resulted in a weakening of the zeal or enthusiasm and dedication of the church. Another factor was probably the significant shift in composition from the church being mostly Jewish since Pentecost to becoming mostly Gentile by 100 AD. Jesus gives some counsel to this church in order to regain its former full committment and zeal to its first love to Jesus and the great commission. Jesus did this by urging them to remember from where they had fallen, repent and do the first works. Christians cannot return to a first love to Jesus either individually or as a church or the church in general if we don't remember and consider from the faithful place we were in in our relationship with and committment to Jesus before we fell into sin or complacency. In particular Jesus was recoginizeing the Ephesians as mostly true Christians as they had had a first love in Him which means they had been genuinely saved through faith in Him. The repentance Jesus urged members of the Ephesian church was to renew living in the Spirit or a recommittment in their faith in and living for Him so their candlestick or witness for Him could continue to shine bright. In this case the repentance is not directed at unbelievers or mere Christian professors in this church. To be fully used for God Jesus urged the Ephesian church to repent which means turn around and to again do the first works which was the case at Pentecost or closer to Pentecost when the Church began. There is a lesson here for Christians today as well. Jesus said if the church of Ephesus didn't follow this advice he would come quickly and take its candlestick out of its place. This happened historically when the witness of Ephesus was lost for the most part first due to formalism or falling into tradition and ritual and spiritual lifelessness in the Byzantine Empire. This candlestick was more fully and permanently taken from this church later by the spread of Islam to Ephesus and the other seven churches in what is now Turkey. Jesus commends the church of Ephesus for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans which he also hates. Nicolaitans is derived from Nico which means rule over and laos which means laity or the general Christian believers. This is referring to what we now call church hierarchy that was contrary to Jesus' will of having each local chuch directly under his authority. Nicolaiatinism can also refer to the teachings of the church deacon Nicholas mentioned in Acts 6 who apparently taught "free love" in the churches that is all kinds of sexual permissiveness both heterosexual and homosexual outside of a married relationship with one man and one woman for this life. Church hierarchy results is giving excessive power to Christian leaders that rightfully belongs to Jesus, God or the Holy Spirit alone such as in administration and teaching the Christians of a church. Jesus then refers to the true believers among this Church of Ephesus who hear the voice of the Holy Spirit because they have been born of the Holy Spirit through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Jesus said to these true believers or overcomers that he would reserve for them the right to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God or generally that he would reserve for them a place in heaven to partake of all its blessings in the life to come. The scripture reference in Revelation 2 of the Church of Ephesus as the early church or church in the apostolic period from about 30 to 100 AD is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 2 of the Church of Ephesus as the Early or Apostolic Church from 30 to 100 AD

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:1-7

Description of the Church of Smyrna the Church Under Persecution From About 100 to 316 AD in Revelation 2

One of the points mentioned to this church is for believers to be faithful unto death. Although a main meaning of this would be not to deny Christ under the persecution of the oppressive Roman emperors in this period. The instruction not to deny Christ would probably also be a challenge to true believers not to compromise with the heresies and false teachings of that time of which a primary one was Gnosticism and worship of the Roman emperor which took many forms. A main source of this Gnosticism was some of the supposed Christian teachers in Alexandria who tried to also combine much Greek philosophy with sound biblical teaching. Alexandria was also the source location of many of the so called Gnostic Gospels such as the Gospel of Barnabas, the Gospel of Thomas or perhaps the Gospel of Judas now popular in the media. This Gnosticism is also being promoted and popularized by Dan Brown in his book and movie The DaVinci Codes. I have heard the Gospel of Judas was found in the 1970s in Egypt perhaps near Alexandria but probably at least originating from there. One of the men bringing much influential false teaching or heresy as well as developing the allegorical method that is popular with false teachers or people who compromise with mystical or other non-biblical teaching was Origen. Origen lived from 185 to 254 AD in this period but he did teach some true things from the Bible.. The ten days that the Christians would be tried probably refers to ten periods of persecution by different Roman emperors in this period between 100 and 316 AD against Christians. Among other things Origen taught that the unsaved just had suffering in their minds and not in physical eternal sufferings in hell. Jesus could have had this in mind when he said to this church he that overcometh shall not be hurt by the second death. The scripture reference in Revelation 2 of the Church of Smyrna to the early church under persecution is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 2 The Church Under Persecution from 100 to 316 AD

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:8-11

Description of the Church of Pergamos Symbol of the Church in the World from Revelation 2 from About 315 AD in the Time of Constantine to About 600 AD

The main message to this church was that the Lord Jesus Christ portrayed himself as he that had the two edged sword which speaks of the word of God (for example in Hebrews 4:12). The two edges of the sword speak of one edge justifying us if we yield to God and His word and the other edge judging us if we don't yield to God and His word the Holy Bible. God says through the apostle John that he knows the works of the Church of Pergamos where Satan's seat (throne is). This is saying that the works or practices of the Church of Pergamos were acceptable with God but that they were in a Satanic environment in Pergamos. In secular history it is known that Pergamos was a resting place and stronghold of the Babylonian mystery religion after the fall of Babylon and before they were spread to Rome where they were later included in the Roman Catholic Church to some extent. The reference to Satan's seat being in Pergamos, according to some notes in the Ryrie Study Bible, is also partially to Pergamos being a stronghold of worship of the Roman emperor and having a strong temple worship of the chief Greek god Zeus (the Roman Jupiter). Some of these teachings it brought to the church between the time of Constantine and 600 AD according to Tim LaHaye in his book Revelation Unveiled are the following: prayers for the dead, worship of saints and angels, worship of Mary, the institution of the Mass and others. The church of Pergamos' genuine believers or true Christians are commended for not denying my faith or faith in Jesus as a Person of the Godhead that was challenged especially by the heretic Arius in the time of Constantine. To her credit the church stood firm in its postion supporting the deity of Jesus. Antipas is unknown but was probably a martyr who died in Pergamos where Satan dwelt with the idolatry or mystery religion there. The doctrine of Balaam referred to in verse 14 is concerning the false prophet Balaam in Numbers 21 to 25 who was a non-Israelite hired to curse Israel by the Moabite leaders. Balaam eventually did this by seducing the Israelite men with the pagan idol worshipping Moabite woman who also married many of the Israelite men. This caused at least the resultant children to depart from the God of Israel and worship idols and practice more immorality. This doctrine of Balaam probably refers to some of the Israelite men themselves as well. In the application here to the Church of Pergamos this is a reference to Jesus' condemnation of this church for becoming married to the world that is with the world's religious and political systems. This marriage of the Church with the world included its marriage with Rome that caused the Church to lose its vitality and effectiveness and blessing of God after the time of Constantine. This Church of Pergamos representing the professing church as a whole from the time of Constantine to about 600 AD also became more spiritually deadened by the increasing practice of church hierarchy which is called in Revelation 2 the doctrine of the Nicolaitans meaning rule nico over the people laos. Among other things Nicolaitanism or church hierarchy stifles participation of the laity in the operations of the church and makes the leading clergy less in contact and less concerned with evangelism or reaching the unsaved with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to church leaders encouraging church members to indulge in free or unrestrained love. The unbelievers or mere Christian professors in this church are again warned that if they don't repent or initially and turn their lives to God and Jesus in these matters he will judge them with the two edeged sword of the Word of God the Holy Bible. This is a threat that if the professing Christians in this church don't repent to initially and for their lives trust in the Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour they will be condemned by God's word the Holy Bible. In the letter to this church the Lord Jesus says that in the church Pergamos they had members who held to the false Balaam or Nicolaitan teachers but it is implied they also had members who didn't hold to these teachings and many of those who didn't hold to those teachings would already be genuine or born again Christians and the specific warning to repent would not be directed at them. Finally there is a promise to the Christians of this Church in the prophetic sense the Christians between about 315 to 600 AD that, if they overcome the world by living in Christ or by the Holy Spirit, Jesus will give them the hidden manna. This hidden manna could mean sustenance for their spirit in this life especially by the word of God the bread of life or in the life to come perhaps also with physical manna for our ressurrection bodies in heaven since in the scriptures manna came from heaven and was called angel's food. The white stone is supposed to refer to an ancient sign of someone who was declared not guilty which is true for the born again Christian who was received Jesus Christ and the payment of his shed bled to blot out our sins in God's sight. The scripture reference in Revelation 2 or the Church of Pergamos as referring prophetically to the professing church between the time of Constantine about 315 AD to about 600 AD is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 2 of the Church of Pergamos as Referring Prophetically to the Professing Church from About 315 AD to About 600 AD When the Church Became Settled in and More Compomised With the World System

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:12-17

The Church of Thyratira Representing the Roman Catholic Church from About 600 AD to the Tribulation from Revelation 2

The word Thyratira means "a continual sacrifice". This would speak of the Roman Catholic system with the Mass, sacraments, penance and other good works that are regarded as a sacrifice to God and that add to Christ's finished work on the cross to in their view to realize sufficient work for the salvation of Roman Catholics. The reference of Jesus as the Son of God who stands in judgment of this church of Thyratira is probably a rebuke of the false worship, praying to and exaltation of Mary, saints and angels. This focus on Mary and other beings than Jesus takes away from the worship and mediation role before God the Father that is only entrusted to God's Son Jesus Christ. The works, charity, service, faith and patience of the Church of Thyratira probably refers to the good works associated with the teaching in monasteries and universities or other schools, hospitals and other places of caring or social services that the Roman Catholic Church is well known for and which is commendable. However in periods like the inquisition or some other times these works could be in a negative sense as works against those who sought to stand for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone with the Bible - God's Word as their only authority. Jezebel was well known for promoting the worship of Baal that involved idolatry and much sexual immorality and fertility cult paganism. This could probably be applied here to spiritual adultery or fornication which is idolatry especially the efforts of the Roman Catholic church to try to gain and very much succeeding in gaining worldy power especially from about 600 AD to about 1600 AD. After 1600 AD or so some of this power was reduced by some of the effects of the Protestant Reformation. However even now the Roman Catholic Church still has substantial worldly power. This has led many in the Roman Catholic system to not recognize the world system including the part of it associated with the Roman Catholic Church or Church of Thyratira as evil and not of God. Causing God's servants to eat things sacrificed to idols could include the sacrifice of the Mass where the bread "wafer" and wine is sacrificed by the priest to God as the recreated body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This wouldn't please God or be received by Him as he regards the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross as sufficient once for all time and all people and that doesn't need to be and not desired to be repeated. The Jezebel spirit could also refer to the increasing adoration and exaltation of Mary beyond what is called for in scripture and that is another aspect of bringing in the Babylon mystery system into the professing Church in this case especially the mother goddess. This deceiving Mary spirit is becoming increasingly prominent in the various apparitions that are leading people to worship Mary at the expense of worshipping God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This will probably also lead to the harlot church of the tribulation. Jesus says he gave this church time to repent but she did not at least 1000 years from 600 to 1600 AD and there continues to be more ungodliness added to Roman Catholic teaching such as in 1854 the Immaculate conception of Mary, 1870 infallibility of the Pope claimed, 1950 assumption of the Virgin Mary and 1965 Mary stated to be Mother of the Church. The warning to members of the Church of Thyatira to repent was to those who followed and held to the Jezebel or idolatrous spirit of this church system and who held to that more than to trusting in and then living for the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father first according to His word the Holy Bible particularly the New Testament. The warning to repent is not to members of this church or the Roman Catholic and probably Eastern Orthodox Church who didn't follow or hold to these unbiblical church traditions but who trusted initially and an ongoing basis in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and strength for Christian service after that according to His word the Holy Bible. However it is something commendable that since Vatican 2 the Roman Catholic Church has been more supportive of Roman Catholics reading the Bible. However those who continue with non biblical Roman Catholic doctrine including relying on that for any part in salvation instead of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone will be cast into the tribulation or in other words won't be taken up to heaven at the rapture with born again Christians relying only on Jesus Christ for salvation. Faith in Jesus alone is in his death on the cross for our sins and ressurrection from the dead to give us new life. However to those who don't give in to the teaching of this Jezebel spirit or the depths of Satan such as some of the other Babylon system in the Roman Catholic Church such as worshipping of images and relics since 786 AD, celibacy of priests since 1079 AD, canonization of dead saints since 995 AD, doctrine of purgatory since 1439 AD and tradition equated in authority with the Bible since 1545 AD God will grant no other burden. These faithful believers are urged to stand fast against this darkness or depths of Satan until Jesus comes meaning at the rapture or his coming for His Church of believers in Jesus alone apart from works. To these faithful and genuine believers Jesus will give power over the nations and the right and priviledge to rule with a rod of iron with the Lord Jesus Christ starting at His Second Coming and to continue in his 1000 year Messianic Kingdom rule. Jesus also promises he will give these promises to overcoming believers in the Church of Thyratira or Roman Catholic Church particularly those who live by God's word the Holy Bible rather than non biblical Roman Catholic church doctrine and who trust in Jesus Christ by faith alone apart from church sacraments or other good works. Jesus also promises to these overcomers the morning star or that they will join with Jesus at the rapture or catching up of the true Bible believing Christians to Heaven before the tribulation. As with the letters to the other churches Jesus urges the hearer or reader to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying through God's Word the Holy Bible. The scripture reference from Revelation 2 of the Church of Thyratira representing the Roman Catholic Church especially from 600 AD to the tribulation is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 2 of the Church of Thyratira Representing the Roman Catholic Church from 600 AD to the Tribulation

And unto the angel of the church of Thyratira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyratira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power unto the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:18-29

The Church of Sardis the Dead Church of Protestantism from About 1500 AD to the Tribulation from Revelation 3

The letter to the Church of Sardis is historically or prophetically directed to the Protestant Church especially the Mainline or state Protestant Churches developed in Europe from the beginning of the Reformation. One of the things Jesus mentions at the beginnning of his address to this church is that he had the seven Spirits of God which means he had the Holy Spirit. Also according to Tim LaHaye in his book Revelation Unvelied this is a rebuke to the Protestant Church especially the mainline Protestant Church because to a significant degree they didn't trust in the Holy Spirit as from the time of their leaders many of them became state churches. Because they got support from the various states they could depend on the political establishment in times of trouble instead of the Holy Spirit and they were obligated to let in many people who hadn't personally trusted in Jesus Christ into their churches and these would certaintly be people who hadn't been born of the Holy Spirit or be led of Him etc. The seven stars refers to the angels of the seven churches from Revelation chapter 1 which could mean Jesus was challenging this church to believe more in the supernatural realm of God, the holy angels and demons and be involved in spiritual warfare by God's Holy Spirit. This is part of the calling of all true Christians. Jesus also said he knew their works which could refer to the courage especially of the early leaders of the Reformation that sought to come out of the Roman Catholic system and emphasize salvation and Christian life more by the Bible and faith in Jesus. The Protestant Church has many names such as Anglican or Church of England, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Reformed or others that many of these professing Christians take pride in and that they try to live out. However many of these churches and people are spiritually dead because the churches and the people don't emphasize God's Word- the Holy Bible in its fullnessincluding the imminent or any time coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church and separation of true Christians from the world system. Prayer in the Holy Spirit by born again believers also needed to be practiced more fully. They also often combine what limited amount or understanding of the Bible they have with liberalism or humanism that rob the church and people of Holy Spirit enabled spiritual life in Christ. Jesus urges this church to be watchful which probably means to be more conscious of Jesus's coming again to take true Christians to heaven at the end of this present Church age at the rapture. Jesus also says to this Church of Sardis or the Protestant Church to strengthen the things that remain such as emphasis on the authority of the Bible as God's Word and the sinfulness of all people and the need to trust in Jesus alone for salvation. These were all scripture truths recovered with the Protestant Reformation. Jesus also says these things are ready to die or became just formalism or going through the motions without the Holy Spirit. Part of this trend to spiritual deadness is through some Protestant churches and individuals joining together with the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Churches in the Ecumenical Movement with moves to join with other religions in the Inter-faith Movement that is quickly forming the harlot mystery Babylon church. This false church will be left behind after the rapture of true born again by the Holy Spirit and the Bible Christians to heaven. This left behind church on earth will then form the basis of the mystery babylon church that will be associated with the beast or antichrist in the first half of the tribulation as in Revelation 17 which he will turn against in the second half of the tribulation. Of course this is not God's desire for the Church of His Son Jesus Christ which is to be separate from the world system and to come out of it. Jesus then urges the mere Christian professors of this church to hold fast what they have heard and repent which would include repent of its/their failure to teach or believe in the prophetic parts of God's word or the parts for the separation of Christians from the world and to repent of the liberalism. This warning to repent was not directed at those who were already genuine believers who had already personally trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour according to His word the Holy Bible and are described as a few names in Sardis that have not defiled their garments. Jesus says these genuine Christian believers would walk with him in white in heaven because they are worthy because they trusted in Jesus and had been born again and been directed by God's Holy Spirit. Part of the rebuke to this church regards liberalism in regards to its contrived way of failing to interpret scripture especially with other scripture but instead primarily by human reason or emotions which aren't necessarily of God's Holy Spirit. Jesus to this Church of Sardis or the Protestant Church especially the Mainline Protestant Church makes it crystal clear that he isn't satisfied with this churches and many of its individual's position or lack of one on the teaching or study of Bible prophecy. Jesus says if they do not watch or take more interest and study of Bible prophecy he will come upon them as a thief and they won't be prepared even for the approximate time of Jesus's coming for the true or born again Christians to bring us to heaven. This is also what is meant by you shall not know what hour I will come or the approximate time not the literal hour that Jesus will return for his true Church. Liberalism or humanism that is very prominent in this Church tends to make people more permissive in their moral life also due to their lack of separation from the world. He that overcometh especially refers to 1 John 5:4-5 where overcoming is by faith in Jesus and the new birth by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says again they will walk with him in white because they have God's righteousness by faith in Jesus. Jesus also says for these overcomers he will not blot out their names out of the book of life which means they will never have to worry about being cast into the lake of fire and being eternally separated from God. Jesus also says he will confess these overcomers who are spiritually alive through faith in Jesus, the fuller content of God's Word the Holy Bible and the Holy Spirit before His Father and the holy angels. In Gospel of Matthew 10 Jesus says those who confess him before men he will confess before His Father and his holy angels. Another part of the deadness of the Church of Sardis or especially Mainline Protestantism is the lack of many of its members to do any verbal witnessing or evangelism to testify of Jesus Christ to unbelievers. These overcomers however most likely will have done some testifying of their faith in Jesus to unbelievers. Jesus finally urges members of this Church also to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. The scripture reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Sardis representing especially the Mainline Protestant Church is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Sardis as Representing the Protestant Church especially the Mainline or State Churches

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:1-6

The Church of Philadelphia the Church Obeying the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word and Emphasizing World Christian Mission from About 1750 AD to the Rapture

One of the things Jesus speaks to the members of this church about is that he is the Holy One. This is spoken to a church that is generally practicing holiness that began in earnest in the revivals on John and Charles Wesley and Charles Finney and Billy Sunday and other notable Christians in the late 1700s and early 1800s in Great Britain, the United States and other places. These revivals encouraged people to take the Bible literally including its teaching on the imminency or any time coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ to take his church of born again believers to heaven as well as the need to live lives dedicated to God and Jesus Christ and separated from the world, the flesh and the devil. Jesus also said he was the one that was true. In this way Jesus encourages this church of Philadelphia or the true Christians since about 1750 to the rapture at the end of the Church age to keep his word the holy bible that is our written source of pure truth from God. Jesus also says he is the one that has the key of David which probably refers to his lineage in the line of David and his authority to rule as the Messiah King in the line of David in the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom. This will be after Jesus' second coming for which the true Christians of this Church will share. Also one of the results of people taking God's word more literally that was lost since the second or third centuries AD and the church of Smyrna is the conviction to reach out to all the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel is that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all the people of the world and rose from the dead that any person of the world might have new life in him all if we trust in our heart in Jesus. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew he has been given all authority in heaven and earth from God the Father including in relation to help His Church carry our the Great Commission or world evangelism and discipleship. Jesus can and does use this power to open countries, regions of the world or people groups to the gospel often in answer to prayer or close them often if those people show prolonged coldness to the gospel and God and Jesus and Christians. Jesus says he knows the works of this church which include reading or studying the Bible literally and applying it to our lives with emphasis on holy living and world missions. Jesus again says he has supplied an open door for world evangelism and discipleship for this Church of Philadelphia from about 1750 AD to the end of the present Church age which will probably be quite soon. Jesus also commends this church for keeping or applying to our lives his word and not denying his name or not compromising with the world or denying faith in Jesus under persecution. Jesus also says he will make those of the synagogue of Satan which are probably Jews that don't believe in Jesus especially that have an ungodly life to honour these Christians of the Church of Philadelphia and worship Jesus before them in the life to come. Jesus also commends this Church of Philadelphia or the more evangelical or Bible believing and applying Church from about 1750 for keeping his word. This would include things like emphasis on the biblical teaching of the way of salvation in the new birth and then abiding in Christ through his word, prayer and the Holy Spirit in patient waiting for the Lord Jesus to come and take His Church to heaven to be with Himself and the Heavenly Father at the rapture or catching up of the Church. Jesus promises very clearly here in his own words that for the members of this Church applying God's word to our lives in His way of salvation especially and yielding our lives to Jesus He will keep us from the hour of temptation that will come on all the earth. This hour of temptation is also known as the tribulation of the 7 year 70th week of Daniel when God will pour out his wrath on those who rejected or neglected the gospel in this Church age and the Antichrist and False Prophet empowered by Satan will rule the earth. However other people will be saved in the tribulaton but they won't be part of the Church. Jesus also reminds this Church that he is coming quickly or suddenly and he enourages this Church to keep watching for Him until he takes the last generation of this faithful Church at the end of the Church age to heaven at the rapture or Jesus' coming for His Church. The crown will be for faithful Christian service perhaps in this case especially one for eagerly awaiting the Lord's coming that is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8. Jesus also encourages this Church to be faithful to maintain what it already has in practicing his word and holiness and world missions until he comes at the end of this age. Jesus promises those that overcome that we will in the life to come always be in his temple. Being in God's temple for God's people in eternity in a sense will be everywhere but the lake of fire unlike in this present ungodly world that has many places under the sway of the devil or evil spirits or ungodly people. Jesus also says he will write upon these genuine or Biblically faithful born again Christians the name of God and the name of the New Jerusalem so that we will have right to freely enter and exit that holy city of God's presence throughout eternity. Jesus will also write on the true believer of this age including the present time His new name as a badge of ownership or redemption and identification. As with all the churches Jesus closes the message to this Church for them to hear also with our hearts what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. The scripture reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Philadelphia the church in revival, biblical faithfulness and world missions emphasis is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Philadelphia as the Church in Revival, Word of God Focused and World Mission Minded from About 1750 AD to the Very Soon Rapture of the Church to Heaven

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:7-13

The Church of Laodicea as the Lukewarm Church With Activity but no Life from About 1900 AD to the Rapture from Revelation 3

This church of Laodicea is the lukewarm or indifferent church that compromises with the world. Historically Laodicea was a city in what is now western Turkey with no known record of evangelism to the surrounding area but a deep involvement of Greek or worldly culture. The first title Jesus uses for himself to address the Laocicean church is the Amen. This title means that Jesus is the truth but with an aspect of finality in the truth which is a good message for the church of Laodicea that like much of the modern liberal church of Laodicea. This is because this liberal Laodicean church doesn't believe in the absolute truth of Jesus, God or God's Word - the Holy Bible but tries to accomodate other teachings of the world. Jesus also addresses himself as the the faithful and true witness meaning he is a faithful and true witnesss because he is himself God come in the flesh but also because he is a faithful witness to His co-divine heavenly Father who is also perfect faithfulness and truth. This is also a message that Jesus wants to present to the church of Laodicea with its liberalism and relative values instead of standing as a faithful witness to the absolute truth of Jesus, God the Father and God's word the Holy Bible. This latter position is what God wants for all Christians including those in the liberal churches of Laodicea. Jesus also addresses himself as the beginning of the creation of God which would be better translated the beginner or ruler of the creation of God. This could well be a message to the liberal self-satisfied church of Laodicea to stop denying God's creation and sustainment of the world through evolutionary thinking or claiming the ancient history of the Bible such as the creation, fall or worldwide flood of Noah are only myths without historical reality. Jesus also says he knows the works of this church but in this case this isn't a supportive comment but indicates he is frustrated and upset with the indifference and callousness to spiritual things of this church. This is referring to this church not being cold with no action but not being hot with a dynamic move of God's Holy Spirit either. However this lukewarm state refers to this church as having much activity in programs and plans and committees without spiritual life in prayer, studying or applying God's Word the Holy Bible especially from a literal perspective and evangelism and discipleship. Jesus then shows his response of disgust at the lukewarmness or complacency of this church that characterizes the liberal church today in warning that he will spue her out of his mouth and probably into the tribulation since they are not likely born again. Jesus also shows another indication for the lukewarmness or lifeless activity of this church when he contrasts the self-evaluation of this church with Jesus' and God's evaluation of it. This church and its members like many liberal churches or professing Christians who could be financially well off and well reputed in their community and intelligent and perhaps quite active in supporting education and social service as saying they are rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing. However this church is looking at its condition from a material, social, emotional or intellectual basis and not from a spiritual basis. Jesus speaking from a spiritual perspective says the members of this liberal ecumenical church that prides itself on being tolerant and broad- minded is wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind and naked. Jesus then gives some analogies to the salvation and transformational experience of the new birth for members of this church to go through so they will be spiritually and truly rich and blessed in God's sight and in truth. Jesus says for this church to buy of me gold tried in the fire that they may be rich which speaks of placing our faith wholeheartedly in Jesus alone for salvation and then living by faith in him even if it might been the loss of some relationships, influence, popularity or support from the world system. Jesus also counsels this church to be clothed in white raiment which is symolic of receiving God's righteousness through faith in Jesus as a free gift that the shame of their nakedness from trusting in their own merit or self-sufficient good works does not appear. Jesus also advises this church to annoint themselves with eyesalve. This could symbolize the Holy Spirit who could help them see spiritually and understand and receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and help them see and understand God's Word the Holy Bible and spiritual truth. Jesus saying to this liberal, ecumenical church of Laodicea that as many as he loves he rebukes and chastens was that he didn't want members of this church, he was calling to be true or born again Christians, to be complacent or apathetic to his rebuke. That is Jesus didn't want them to think they were already satisfactory but to be zealous and repent which would show a move of God's Holy Spirit and spiritual life. This warning and urging the members of the Laodicean church to repent is spoken to merely professing and not true born again Christians to initially and for the rest of their lives change their minds from trusting in themselves and their good works to justify themselves with God for salvation but to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and His death on the cross for their and our sins and His rising from the dead to enable them to receive God's eternal life and restored relationship with Him through Jesus and also strength after salvation for Christian service acceptable to Him. Those mentioned in the earlier part of this church who were self-sufficent and not acceptable in God's sight and who hadn't yet repented are likely only professing Christians and not any true or born again and God sufficient through Jesus Christians. Especially to members of this church but to all unbelievers throughout the present Church Age that started at Pentecost almost two thousand years ago and that will continue a little longer until the rapture of the church Jesus instructs people that he is knocking at the door of their hearts. Jesus then says if any man (man or woman boy or girl) hears his voice and opens the door of one's heart Jesus will come into their heart and sup or dine with him or her and have fellowship with them and them with him. This is another way of saying they would enter into eternal life and a personal relationship with Jesus and with God the Father through him. Jesus also says to those who overcome he will grant that they sit with him on his throne or that they will be allowed to rule with him as he also overcame and will be allowed to rule with His Father God the Father. Finally Jesus urges those who have an ear to ear that they would hear also spiritually what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. The scripture reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Laodicea representing the last days liberal, ecumenical, self-satisfied or humanistic church from about 1900 AD to the end of this age at the rapture is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Revelation 3 of the Church of Laodicea Representing the Liberal, Humanistic, Ecumenical and Self-satisfied church from About 1900 AD to the Rapture

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and annoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:14-22

Some information on this web page based on information on Revelation chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain by Tim LaHaye

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