THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 2
At the end of the first chapter of Revelation, we are introduced to the Seven Church Ages as represented by the Seven Lampstands. These Seven Church Ages make up what is called the kingdom of heaven (Matt.13). It is also called the mystery of God (Rev.10:7) identified by the Apostle Paul as a period in which the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob blinded the Jews and turned to the Gentiles to call a people For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Rom.11:25).
The fulness of the Gentiles will soon be complete as we are living at the very end of the Seventh Church Age known as the Laodicean Church Age. Then God will turn to Israel and deal with her once again. The Bible shows us that God personally called Abraham and dealt with him at a time when the world was filled with religious darkness. Abraham was redeemed, so to speak. God made a covenant with Abraham and promised him a SON. Abraham was to be the Father of many nations, but only through Israel was the oracles of God given. From the year of his calling (1920 B.C.) to the year when the SON of God came and finished the work of redemption (30 A.D.) was a total of 1950 years (i.e. 40 Jubilees). Now, does God allocate the same number of years for the Gentiles to come into His household of saints, that is, from 53 A.D. to 2003 A.D.? Only time will tell.
We shall not delve into the historical details of the Seven Church Ages as they are fully dealt with in The Exposition of the Seven Church Ages by William M. Branham who first received the names of the Seven Messengers and their messages by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
A Letter to the Church in the Ephesian Age
Verse 1: 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;
Verse 2: 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:
The Apostle Paul was the angel or messenger to the First Church Age. He was an apostle born out of due season (1 Cor.15:8) and was the founder of the church in Ephesus. A revival fire was started in that city and from there it spread to other cities throughout Asia Minor.
When the Church began on the Day of Pentecost it was very stringent in its faith. Tares, if any, were quickly weeded out by the roots so that only the wheat remained (cf. Acts 5). As more converts were added to the Church and as the Gentiles accepted the Gospel, the spirit of antichrist began to work harder. And by the year 53 A.D. the wheat and the tares began to grow side by side together. They were allowed to continue growing together until the closing of the Seventh Church Age at which time the tares would be separated from the wheat (Matt.13:24-30; Acts 20:28-30) and the Bride of Christ perfected for the Rapture. This was the beginning of the First Church Age which lasted for about 120 years.
The works and virtues of the believers of every age were known of God. The saints of the first age could not tolerate those who were evil, especially those who claimed that they were the apostles of God but were proven to be liars. The Church of Christ began with the Ministry of the Apostles. The Word of the Lord actually came to the Apostles in the New Testament age and unveiled to them the revelation of the prophetic Word. The apostles were highly respected men of God. They were called and sent of God to get God's people to line up with the Word of God and God's plan of salvation. Satan knew what God was doing and began to impersonate Him.
Organized Christianity is in chaos today. Many denominational churches are supporting ecumenism, even though they are divided along doctrinal lines. And the individual groups tend to go about doing things according to their own ideas. But the Word of God shows that there would be a message (to be sounded forth by the angel to the Seventh Church Age) that would wake up the sleeping virgins (who truly have a deep desire to see the bridegroom come) to call them back to the Word (cf. Matt.25:1-13). Then an apostolic ministry would follow as God brings out the 5-Fold Ministry in full force to get the wise virgins to understand their faith which lies in the Apostolic doctrines (cf. Eph.4:11; 2:20; 3:5; Rev.21:14). Yes, the Apostolic ministry under the leadership of the Lord has returned.
How did the believers in the Ephesian Church Age test those who claimed they were apostles to the Church? They simply compared the teachings and practices of the so-called apostles with the message of the Apostle Paul who was the first apostle of God to the Gentiles. Similarly, we must put to the same test the teachings of those who claim to be the present day apostles. Paul said According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon (1 Cor.3:10). Could anyone be a wiser masterbuilder? Any teaching or practice that is not of the Word must be rejected.
Verse 3: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Verse 4: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Verse 5: 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.
Ephesus means desirable; aimed at. It shows the spiritual attitude of the saints of that age towards God. They showed a lot of patience and they laboured much for the Lord. Ephesus also means relaxed and drifting. And that was what happened to many saints who began to relax from the fire that they possessed in the beginning and drift from the Truth and the Love of God.
God is warning His people to repent. Repentance is the only way to get back to God. It has never changed. We are living in an age where because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt.24:12 cf. 1 Tim.4:1). We need to heed the warning lest we become like the First Church which, when their fire went out and the lampstand was removed, never had another renewal only a dead form remained.
Verse 6: But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
The Nicolaitanes were a group of people who sought to make a distinction between those who ministered the Word (clergy/elders) and those who accepted and listened to the Word (laity). They wanted to claim superiority of the ministers over the laity. In other words, they wanted to conquer (nikao) the laity (laos). When the Church Elders conquered the laity they prevented the Spirit of the Lord from moving about freely in the Church to manifest His gifts, such as tongues and prophecies. The Lord commended the believers who hated such deeds which He Himself also hated for God wanted His children to have His liberty in the Spirit.
Verse 7: 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.
The promise to this (Ephesian) age, to all who received the revelation of the message, was the right to go into the paradise of God and partake of the tree of life (cf. Lk.23:43).
A Letter to the Church in the Smyrnaean Age
Verse 8: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Verse 9: 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.
Smyrna means bitter. It comes from the word myrrh. It was an age of bitter persecution. The saints in the city of Smyrna were stricken with poverty and lived in great hardship. Because of their faith, they were made the laughing stocks in the city, especially by those pseudo-Jews who belonged to the synagogue of Satan. There were also many pseudo-believers who derided and persecuted the saints. They were of the devil's assembly. Though they were poor materially, the true worshippers were rich in the Lord because of the revelation they had received through Irenaeus, the Messenger of God for the age, and the preachings of other true servants of God. With the true revelation they had received they were able to remain fearless in the midst of persecution against them for their faith.
The Smyrnaean Age lasted from the middle of the 2nd Century to the 4th Century. Polycarp, a great disciple of the Apostle John, was martyred in this age in 155 A.D.
Verse 10: 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.
Verse 11: 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.
The elect of God do not persecute; rather they are persecuted. Persecution comes upon the elect as a trial of their faith. In the age of Smyrna, the saints endured tribulation brought upon them by the adversary of God. Some were cast into prison. And under the hands of Emperor Diocletian, thousands of Christians were martyred by the Romans during the period of ten days 300 to 310 A.D. Those overcomers who endured and remained faithful to the point of death, as admonished by the Lord, would not die the second death but would receive a crown of life.
The second death takes place when the spirit of life leaves the soul and body, which happens after the Great White Throne Judgement. The first death takes place when the soul departs from the body. (Read Rev.20:14; Gen.35:18.) Jesus said, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt.10:28). All sinners will have a share in the Lake of Fire as they are being burnt and destroyed completely. Yes, all the wicked ones will be annihilated. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part (Grk: 'meros' - share, division) in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev.21:8). Hence, the Doctrine of Eternal Death, which teaches that the soul of a wicked dead will be burnt endlessly in an eternal hell fire which will never be extinguished, is an erroneous teaching. There is only one form of LIFE and it is the LIFE of God. You either have IT or you don't.
A Letter to the Church in the Pergamean Age
Verse 12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Verse 13: 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.
This is the age that Satan finally established his seat of power in Christendom Apostate Christianity when Constantine the Great became emperor in 312 A.D.. Constantine's previous religion was the worship of the 'Unconquered Sun'. He became a Christian after he saw a vision of a cross in the sky. He described himself as the 'defender of the church' but was actually a meddler in church affairs. The interfering emperor convened an ecumenical council in 325 A.D., at Nicaea where some 1500 delegates gathered to define the doctrine of the Godhead. And the unholy doctrine of a '3-in-1' God was then formulated. From then on the Roman subjects were challenged by the bishops to receive the 'Christian trinity belief' as it was formulated at Nicaea. The belief in the Trinity, which consists of the tri-unity of God as Father, Son and Holy Ghost was thereby the only valid creed for all Christians. It became the state-furthered religion. (To this day the majority of Christians accept the teaching of the Trinity as a basic Scriptural doctrine without reservation.) Hence, Christianity was mixed with Paganism and made the official religion. This was the beginning of the first and largest denomination the Roman Catholic Church. In the Book of Revelation she is identified as the Great Whore called Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth (Rev.17:5) that sits on the First Beast (of Revelation 13) which is Romanism in its final stage.
Pergamos, meaning citadel, pointed to the stronghold of the Roman Catholic system which was very similar to the religious system of Nimrod of Babel (Babylon) the seat of Satan. This was where Satan dwelled and is still dwelling even today. And Satan would not hestitate to slay any one like he did Antipas. But his present strategy is the use of religious deception. From where he sits, he is always scheming to sow little seeds of error in the teachings of God's Word so as to perpetuate falsehood among the people of God. However, God always raises true ministries to counter the deceivers whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake (Tit.1:11). St. Martin was the messenger sent to wield the sharp twoedged Sword of the Word of God to counter the 'church and state' system.
Verse 14: 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 unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Verse 15: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
We read in Numbers chapters 22 to 24 how that Balaam, who did not belong to the children of Israel, succeeded in getting the children of Israel to fornicate with the Moabites. Balak, the Moabite king, had bribed Balaam, a soothsayer, to prophesy evil against Israel. However, God stopped Balaam's mouth each time Balaam tried to curse the Israelites. Instead of cursing the Israelites, he blessed them. Eventually Balaam hatched a crafty plan. He had Balak set up a religious worship at Baalpeor with the Moabite women there to entice the men of Israel by openly performing sex acts during their worship. Soon the men of Israel were participating with the Moabites in their heathen activities. Thousands of the men of Israel, who committed sexual sins with the Moabite women and who got involved in their heathen worship, were judged and slain.
The spirit of Balaam was in Constantine when he used the same doctrine of Balaam to unite Paganism and Christianity. God hates idolatry and spiritual fornication. The doctrine of Balaam is still widely embraced by organized religious churches around the world. Through the Ecumenical Movement, especially the Charismatics, the organized churches are being united with the Roman Catholic Church. The majority of these people do not really care much for the Word of God. Satan is once again gathering these people together to commit spiritual fornication. All that these people want is the 'charismata' tongues, prophecies, etc. and whatever they have been indoctrinated by the elite clergymen with 'charisma'. They are taught many 'new revelations' which are unscriptural and have no basis in the Word of God. These people are being deceived, not knowing that they will be facing the judgement of God in the Day of God's Wrath. But the true Elect, the Bride of Christ, will stay away from such evil; they will feed upon the pure Word of God that God will receive them (cf. 2 Cor.6:14-18).
The apostate church of Rome has become a whore. The Book of Revelation and Church History have identified her as Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots and the denominations which follow her ways as her harlot-daughters. They love the way of Balaam because they love the wages of unrighteousness (2 Pet.2:15). They follow the doctrine of Balaam by enticing God's people to commit spiritual fornication against God. And they commit the error of Balaam (Jude 1:11) by vexing and condemning those who follow the ways of the Apostolic Church of God.
The deeds of the Nicolaitans which started in the first Church Age have become a doctrine in this last Church Age. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, coupled with the doctrine of Balaam, has caused the widening of the gap between the clergy and the laity. With many different categories of 'priestshood' under the pope as the supreme head of the apostate church, the ministry has become more distant from the people. The denominational churches today have adopted similar organisational structure. They have their general superintendents, regional overseers and suchlike because they take after their Mother Harlot. The seat of Satan is a high seat For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High (Isa.14:13-14).
Verse 16: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Verse 17: 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 will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Towards the end of the 6th Century, God came upon the unrepentant ones with the Sword of His mouth and took away the lampstand while lighting another. But to those who had the ears to hear and to the overcomers, God allowed them to partake of the hidden manna which was the rich spiritual truths of God's Word. They were also each given a white stone signifying that they had the revelation and fellowship of God (cf. Matt.16:17-19). They were the few precious saints of Christ in that hour. Likewise, there are a few of such precious saints of Christ in this present hour. They will all receive their new name when they go up in the Rapture with their new body.
A Letter to the Church in the Thyatirean Age
Verse 18: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira 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;
Verse 19: 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.
Verse 20: 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.
In the Fourth Church Age, Christ stood with fine brazen feet ready to judge the church if she did not repent. Because He had gone through the fiery judgement of God for us, He has therefore inherited the right to judge His church. No sin in the church could ever escape the judgement of His blazing eyes.
Thyatira means dominating female. In the days when the Apostle John received this vision, there was a woman named Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess and taught in the church in the City of Thyatira. She also seduced the ministers of God to commit fornication with her and made them eat food offered to idols. In the Old Testament period of the kings of Israel, there was also a queen named Jezebel, who was an idolater and seductress, the wife of King Ahab. She controlled her husband, ruled over the people and killed the prophets of God.
God has never ordained woman preachers in His church. All the ministers in the Five-fold Ministry of God are men. Because the Woman strayed outside the Word in the Garden of Eden when she was deceived by the Serpent, God had to put her in her designated place in the church. The Apostle Paul wrote: Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Tim.2:11-14 cf. 1 Cor.14:34-35). Churches which hearken to the Satanic voice of Jezebel and allow women in their midst to preach and teach the Word of God are actually blinded by Satan to the Truth. Surely, they are in for a rough time that lies just ahead.
The church of Thyatira was aptly chosen to represent the Fourth Church Age which lasted from the close of the 6th Century to about the year 1520. 'Mother Church' dominated the world through her politico-religious system. Many countries outside of Europe, such as the Philippines, Canada and Latin America were colonized by the Roman Catholic nations through their missionaries. The papacy was elevated so highly that the Pope presented himself as 'Vicarius Filii Dei' Latin for the 'Vicar of the Son of God'. But Christ has no vicar; He himself intercedes for all of His own. To prevent his authority from being examined, the Pope took the Bible away from the people and replaced It with superstitious rituals. One such ritual was the continual sacrifice (another meaning of the word Thyatira) of the Body of Christ which they called 'Mass'. The old apostate church began to teach her ministers her own 'Apostolic' doctrines. Every good thing was brought to a standstill. Superstitions and evil works were rampant. Poverty, sicknesses and diseases were prevalent. This was a glorious period for Satan and his wife, the Roman Catholic Church. It lasted for about a thousand years.
Life was hard especially for the saints at that time. Many family members were separated from one another. Many hid themselves and worshipped in caves and catacombs under difficult conditions. Can the saints of today be compared to those saints in their works, charity, service, faith and patience?
Verse 21: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Verse 22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Verse 23: 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.
Did the Roman Catholic Church repent? No, she did not and she will never ever repent. She made herself to be a great prophetess and claimed divine authority in all her words. Her spirit became worse as the days passed. God's messenger, Columba, and other men of God tried to get her back to the Word. But she refused to accept it. So God had declared a period of Great Tribulation when He would cast her out there together with those 'servants of God' who committed spiritual fornication with her. Spiritual fornication produced spiritual death. Such unholy union was devoid of the Life of God; they only produced bastard children. These children were appointed by God to spiritual death. Yes, the blazing eyes of Christ search the reins and hearts of all the churches and God rewards them according to their works. Sadly, the majority of the 'protestant' churches in this 20th Century have joined up with that harlot prophetess Jezebel. They are actually born of whoredom and so they have returned to reunite with the Mother of Harlot and God will cast all of them together with her into the sickbed of Great Tribulation.
Verse 24: But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, 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.
Verse 25: But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
To the messenger and those who did not embrace the doctrine of Jezebel or learn what was called the deep things of Satan, Christ admonished them to hold on to what they possessed and He would not put upon them any additional burden. And His promise to them was:
Verse 26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Verse 27: 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.
Verse 28: And I will give him the morning star.
For those saints who will persevere to the end and overcome, what a day it will be when they shall live and reign with Christ in the Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28)! They will cease to live in a dark chaotic age because they will receive the bright morning star Jesus Christ, their Shepherd King! Together with Christ, they shall rule the nations righteously with true justice.
Verse 29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation Chapter 3
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