To obtain the best understanding of the Scriptures, it is wise to pray to the Holy Spirit for insight. He will teach us all things, even things to come. John 14 :26 ( teaches and recalls data ) and John 16: 13 ( guides us into Truth and reveals prophecy, future events ).
Summary of the Seven Churches found in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.
Rev 1:11 which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:
to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." ( all located in Turkey )
Ephesus - Active church but lost their first love ( JESUS FIRST; lost Messianic-Jewish roots 1 John 3: 9, 10 )
Smyrna - Persecuted church; no correction given – will receive a crown of life
Pergamum - Compromising church (ecumenism—sacrificing truth for unity)
Thyatira - Adulterous church ( fostering a 1 world religion ; will be in the GREAT Tribulation and die )
Sardis – Split church; Some complacent and not watching; must Repent
Some active in their zeal for Jesus whose names will be written in the Book of Life; they will walk in white (Matthew 22)
Subject to a Split-Rapture …Midnight ( Matt. 25:1—13) and Pre-Wrath ‘as a thief’ … Rev. 3:3 and Rev. 16:15
Philadelphia – Messianic Church; all zealous believers ( Romans 11: 15--17 ) ; we will be in the New Jerusalem ( Rev.21)
Laodicea - Uncommitted church; Apathetic. Their decision will either cause their death on earth;
or the second death for all eternity ( Rev. 14: 9—11 )
1. The church of Ephesus
Characterized by fervent devotion. Preached the gospel all over their world. Refusal to fraternize with loose Christians. Heeded Romans 16:17.
Yet they took their Christianity for granted – They needed to have a day-to-day intimate fellowship with Jesus.
Lost their first love: Intimate relationship with Jesus. And they lost their Messianic brotherhood and roots. See Acts 6 and 3 John 1: 9,10.
Commendation: " I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked, evil persons;
that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for My Name, and have not grown weary…You hate the practices of the Nicolaitanes (dominating persons), which I also hate."
"Nicolaitanes" means a dominating system...hierarchy of people....preference of persons.
Jesus leveled the plane when he said : " All ye are brethren " Matthew 23: 8.
Counsel: Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
They fellowshipped with Messianic Believers at the first.
Remember where you once were.
Almost all of the earliest churches began with Paul--a Jew. Most of the early churches were predominantly Jewish, until the Gentiles outnumbered them, and then excluded the Jewish people. The assembly should not be concerned with numbers or with externals .Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11
See 3 John 1: 10
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches:
Some are listening; some are not. It depends on one's willingness and obedience to the Holy Spirit.
2. The Church of Smyrna – The persecuted church
Correction: They are not corrected for anything.
Commendation: I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich!
Counsel: Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Be faithful, even to the point of death.
Reward: He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. ( eternity apart from God in the Lake of Fire )
The "death" we Christians face here on earth is but a transition. The second death is eternal condemnation.
Their affliction came from false teachers.
Satan unleashed a violent attack upon the church in an effort to obliterate it, because of its faithful preaching of the gospel.
"You will suffer persecution for "ten days"(symbolic, and possibly a literal meaning in the End Times ).
For 2,000+ years the church has always been persecuted.
If not by a government, then by society. If not physically, then mentally.
Many Christians are suffering martyrdom today ( 2016-2017) all around the globe.
"Yeah, and all those that will live Godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION"
2 Timothy 3:12
If you're not experiencing persecution at some time or other, then something is wrong.
See Hebrews 11 for types of persecution throughout the ages. ( Some died; some were delivered )
Persecution will increase as we come to the end of this age. 2 Timothy 3:13
Right now dark forces are planning antichrist agendas. Run to the arms of Jesus for protection.
St. Stephen-- First Martyr of the Church, after Jesus Christ
Acts Chapter 6 and 7 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Act&c=6&v=1&t=KJV#top
3. The Church of Pergamum----Religiosity (mixing
Pergamum – marriage (amalgamation)
Worship of many idols.
Referred to as “where Satan has his throne”. Satan is the king of religiosity. He will do anything to keep people in religion and as far away from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that he can. We don’t need religion. We need spirituality…a personal relationship with God. John 4: 23, 24.
Satan gets one to focus on externals, rather than inner renewal and personal reading of the Scriptures. Satan gets people involved in "works" more than relationship with Jesus ( time spent in sincere prayer ).
Commendation: I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to My Name. You did not renounce your faith in Me, even in the days of Antipas (means "against the crowd "), my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city – where Satan lives.
Antipas did not go along with the crowd. He did not succumb to peer-pressure. He stood true to his own convictions, despite martyrdom.
Condemnation:" 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 Nicolaitanes." ( those who desire a dominating system over the people.) Many religious systems kill “infidels”.
The Pergamums joined with non-believers and "other" believers, just like the Ecumenical movement of today.
Solidarity counted more than doctrine. Unity counted more than TRUTH. They showed preferment of persons.
Counsel: Repent therefore ( Change! ) Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
The Bible --God's Holy Word-- is a two-edged sword. [ Hebrews 4:12 ] The Bible can be used by dominating systems and persons to control and exercise wrongful authority over others. Satan quoted the Word against Jesus. Luke 4.
On the other side of that sword, is the truth of Jesus Christ which fells the doctrines and dictates of men.
Reward: To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Hidden manna: knowledge of the Scriptures from the viewpoint of the Holy Spirit, rather than from man's philosophical attempts to explain God.
[ intellectualosity ]
Forms of idolatry:
Rosary of pagan origin was introduced. An Arab custom of "worry-beads" to soothe the anxious soul.
Celibacy of priests and nuns. Goes against 1 Timothy 4:3
AD 300 – Prayers for the dead. (No second-chances beyond the grave)
AD 300 – Making the sign of the cross. ( external ritual )
AD 375 – Worship of saints and angels. Against the first commandment.
AD 394 – Mass first instituted; repetitious atonement; Atonement once and forever Hebrews 9
AD 431 – Worship of Mary...against the first commandment . Although called "honoring " Mary, closer examination reveals it is worship of her, by attributing to her intercessory power, by the immaculate conception and ascension etc.
AD 500 – Priests began dressing differently than lay-people. (effeminent...long robes...See Matthew 23.
AD 526 – Extreme unction. Hoping a ritual will save them at the end, rather than living for Jesus daily.
AD 593 – Doctrine of purgatory introduced. Not in Scripture. Neither is Limbo in Scripture.
AD 600 – Worship services conducted in Latin. Keeps the mind from thinking, relating, understanding.
Defending Latin Mass May 13, 2011 http://freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2719382/posts?page=1
AD 600 – Prayers directed to Mary. See 1 Timothy 2:5
Roman Catholic Church traces history to AD 312. Constantine: Religion backed by government. We need separation of Church and State.
Postmillennialism Introduced – As the church became richer and more powerful, it was suggested that Christ’s kingdom was already ushered in, and that He would come at the end of the thousand-year reign by Churches.
Application for today: Dominion-theology believes that the World-wide Christian "empires" of evangelism
will bring in the world-wide "Revival" and Salvation for planet earth. I think not.
1. Balaam – Balak—the King of Moab-- hired Balaam to use his gift of prophecy against Israel. But every time he opened his mouth to curse Israel, blessings came out instead. Balak told Balaam to entice Israel into making an unholy alliance with the Moabites through intermarriage. The people were polluted socially and spiritually.
Are Churches pro-Messianic ? Are they supporting Messianic outreaches ? Are they learning from the Messianics? Are we acting as the grafted- in branch, or as the whole tree? (Romans 11 ).
2. Nicolaitanes –
Any one who usurps the authority of the Holy Spirit in one's life. We must be Spirit-led, Spirit-guided and Spirit-controlled at all times.
The belief in a strong ecclesiastical hierarchy ruling over the laity. The tyranny of the “should”.
The Bible is our Spiritual Sword :
1. Reveals all things that pertain to life and Godliness (II Peter 1:3)
2. Shines the light of God on our failures (John 3:20)
3. Reveals the true will of God (1 Thessalonians. 4:3)
4. Convicts us of sin (John 8:7)
5. Reveals the love of God (John 3:16)
6. Reveals the judgment of God (Romans 14:10)
7. Calls for repentance (Acts 2:3
4. The Church of Thyatira – Mixing Religion with the world ---
Spirit of Jezebel : mixing politics with religion. Corrupted with immorality.
Commendation: I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Condemnation: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants
Eating food sacrificed to idols: partaking of pagan observances and beliefs.
A politically-correct church. Caters to their viewpoint. Worships numbers ( quantity over quality ).
Counsel: Only hold on to what you have until I come.
Reward: To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery – just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star.
Doctrines that have their source in paganism added during this period:
AD 607 – Boniface III made first pope
AD 709 – Kissing pope’s feet
AD 786 – Worshipping images and relics
AD 850 – Use of holy water began
AD 995 – Canonization of dead saints
AD 998 – Fasting on Fridays and during Lent
AD 1079 – Celibacy for priests
AD 1090 – Prayer beads
AD 1184 – the Inquisition
AD 1190 – Sale of indulgences
AD 1220 – Adoration of the wafer (host)
AD 1229 – Bible forbidden to lay people
AD 1414 – Cup forbidden to people at communion
AD 1439 – Doctrine of purgatory decreed
AD 1854 – Immaculate Conception of Mary
AD 1950 – Assumption of the Virgin Mary
AD 1965 – Mary proclaimed Mother of the Church
AD 2000 – New millennium dedicated to Mary
"Living 4 Jesus" supplied parts of this information from the RR message board.
Christian evangelical "empires" are filled with worldly indulgence: money, travel, buildings, investments.
Religion has become BIG BUSINESS by Protestant as well as Catholic churches.
Christ’s future judgement – So I will cast her on a bed of suffering ( The GREAT Tribulation ) and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of her ways. The Churches who disregard Bible Prophecy will go into the Great Tribulation– last 3 1/ 2 years. I will strike her children with death. Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds (motives ) , and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
Those caught up in their empires and ministries will not be caught up with Our Lord in the air at the time of the Midnight Rapture, unless their priorities are right.
Neither we--nor our ministries--are indispensable to God! He goes on with or without us. It's His Plan. He alone is the author and the Finisher. We are merely conduits of His will for us upon earth.
5. The Church of Sardis – Complacent Church
Commendation: I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive…
Condemnation: …but you are dead…I have not found your deeds complete in the eyes of God.
Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! "(Matthew 7:22-23)
It’s not our works ( hands) ; it’s our RELAIONSHIP ( our heart ) that counts with God.
Counsel: Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die…remember therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Challenge: He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
* * * * * *
Note from Hope To The End It is our belief that the Sardis Church represents two groups of people -- those who have their lamps trimmed and are ready to go with the Bridegroom in the Rapture. Matthew 25 -- the 5 Wise Virgins
Those who are watching Bible Prophecy closely will KNOW when the Midnight Rapture will take place. 1 Thessalonians 5: 1--6
( after the man of sin sits in the temple as God, showing himself as God ... 2 Thessalonians 2: 4 )
There will be those who are not ready ( not fully committed to walking in the Spirit ) and will not go in the Midnight Rapture. Part of the Church will be left behind.
Those left behind will perhaps go through the stages of anger and resentment. But then hopefully they will repent , and serve the Lord wholeheartedly, and will have a chance for the Cockcrowing Rapture.
6. The Church of Philadelphia – Keeping sound doctrine
Messianic brotherhood restored
The Philadelphian Church -- Messianic Jews and grafted in wise virgins (Romans 11)-- will be kept from the "hour of temptation that is coming upon the whole world" Rev. 3:10. It is our belief that we will be raptured before the 666 Mark of the Beast beomes required; and before the whole globe comes under judgment.
The final Church -- the Laodicean Church -- were carnal Christians from the word go. When the Great Tribulation wakens them up to reality, they will have to make a choice. They will either take the Mark of the Beast , or not take the 666 mark of the Beast.
To those who overcome the System by NOT taking the Mark of the Beast, they will sit on thrones with Christ, having suffered martyrdom. They will rule and reign with Christ Jesus Our Lord.
Philadelphia – The Messianic completed Jews within the Church and we the grafted in branch. Romans 11.
Had the key of David...the Messianic Hope of Messiah found in the Psalms
Church marked by vitality of life....Willing to do whatever God commanded.
Commendation: I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Counsel: I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.
Reward: To Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.
I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God;
and I will also write on him my new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Preservation – will be kept from the hour of trial. (the Great Tribulation)
Links on the Philadelphian Church : http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/7ch042.htm
Hold fast ; Steadfastness http://www.kretzmannproject.org/EP_PASTORAL/2TI_1.htm
7. The Church of Laodicea – The Apathetic Church
Condemnation: So, because you are lukewarm (uncommitted) – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, I am rich; I have need of
nothing ( self-sufficient, self-reliant; selfies). But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Matthew 22 ).
Lukewarm = uncommitted, apathetic, complacent. No personal reading of the Word.
This kind of church more interested in social interaction. This church is self-deceived. This church is poverty-stricken spiritually.
Counsel: I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Challenge: To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on my throne.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears My voice, I will come into him and sup with him." What a glorious promise !
There is hope for this church even in the hopelessness of the Great Tribulation. They can commit to Jesus Christ with their lives.
The Last Days Church will be a church of one ... with the Lord. Individuals will "sup" with our Lord over His Word. They will commune ( have communion ) with Jesus by studying and abiding in His word.
How does Jesus knock?
1. Through His Word. John 5:24 – whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life…
2. Through situations, events, people.. Jesus knocks through ordinary, everyday circumstances.
3. Through His Holy Spirit. Jesus sent Holy Spirit to convict the heart of individuals.
4. Through providence. God’s gentle alignment of the affairs of a person’s life that continually point him or her to the need of inviting Jesus into one’s heart.
The Laodicean Church will be saved in the final days if they "love not their lives unto the death".
By making a 100 % commitment to Jesus Christ--- trusting wholly in Him--- and by not taking the 666 mark of the antichrist system (and therefore being killed / beheaded) they will sit with Jesus in His throne, next to the Father.
Martyrdom merits crowns and thrones.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the seven churches. Amen.