THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 3
A Letter to the Church in the Sardisean Age
Verse 1: 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.
Verse 2: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
It is clear that the Seven Spirits of God (assigned to Seven Angels) worked with, and through, the Seven Stars in the Seven Church Ages. The fifth of the Seven Spirits (in the Fifth Angel) conveyed the message of Christ to Martin Luther, the messenger to the Sardisean Age. Luther was taught by the prophetess Jezebel (Roman Catholic Church) for quite some time until he received a revelation when he heard the Voice of God saying, The just shall live by faith. He fled from the seduction of the prophetess. Then there was a revival of faith all over Germany after he wrote 95 theses against the Papal system and nailed them on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in the year 1517. That started what is commonly known as the Reformation Age, but God called it the age of Sardis the escaped ones for the people were able to get away from the grasp of the apostate church. The Papal system was fatally wounded.
It was unfortunate that this age ended so quickly at around the year 1750. God knew about their works their deeds because of the revival which got them moving into the Life of God, but they soon turned to formalism which made them look good on the outside but corrupt on the inside. They had a name with a reputation for being active and alive, but to the Lord they were spiritually dead. They were warned to strengthen their remaining Christian things that were about to fade away and die.
The spirit of the apostate church had such a strong impact on this age that daughters were born, each having a name. There were the Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Brownists, Mennonites and many others. They all had works and names which only gave the impression that they were spiritually alive, even with spiritual gifts, but were in fact cold and dead. Today, there are nearly two thousand big names the majority of which are either spiritually dead or dying.
Verse 3: 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.
Verse 4: 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.
Would that all Christians remember what they have received and heard concerning the Word of God lest they fall into a mere form of worship. It is important to know what we hear and how we hear it so that we will receive the right things according to the Will of God that we may continue to live and walk in the light of God's Word. Failure to do so can cause the lamp in our life to be snuffed out. God warned the Sardiseans, the escaped ones, about their short-comings. Having escaped, they should have followed the path where God had wanted them to go. Instead they took the road to some traditional catechisms and became apostates. However, only a few of them which is always the case in every age were worthy of their callings for they had not defiled their garments. Because of the people's failure to hear and follow what God was saying, Christ blew out their lamp and lit another in the age of John Wesley. That was the year 1750. And God never again lit that lamp of the previous age.
Verse 5: 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.
Every overcomer of each age will be clothed in white raiment which is the glorified body, given only at the First Resurrection. It speaks of the righteousness of Christ in all these saints.
There is but only one Book of Life; it belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also called the Book of Life of the Lamb and the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev.13:8; 21:27). These are not two or three different Books of Life for different categories of believers. The Book of Life points to Christ Himself Who gave His life for us that we might be found in Him and be a part of that Book, His Body. Paul wrote: Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh (Heb.10:5-10,19-20).
When Christ saved a person He saved him to the uttermost. 'Once saved, always saved' is true for Christ does not redeem a believer and lose him later on. Yet, salvation is not something that a born again believer should take for granted by choosing a lifestyle that is contrary to the Truth of God. The Bible teaches that for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified (Rom.8:29-30). Because we are in Christ it matters how we live. We are not bastards. We should live a holy life otherwise God, Who foreknew all of us, would have had our names blotted out of the Book of Life even before the foundation of the earth was laid. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb.6:4-6,9,12).
Verse 6: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
A Letter to the Church in the Philadelphian Age
Verse 7: 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;
Philadelphia means brotherly kindness which the Church in Philadelphia possessed. The saints were full of brotherly kindness. This Church depicted the age which lasted from 1750 to 1906. It was the greatest missionary age in the history of Christianity during which the Word of God was greatly published, promulgated and preached to various nations of the world. With it also came the realization of the need for Christians to clothe themselves with sanctification and holiness as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Pet.1:14-16). Now, this holiness is not of our own. Holiness is of the Lord. Some Christians believe they could or should work for their own holiness. Such people set their own standard of holiness and they tend to measure others by their own standard (Rom.10:3-4). In fact, such Christians are being self-righteous. And self-righteousness is a sin. It is Christ Who has imputed upon us His righteousness And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom.8:10). Therefore, because we believe in God and His Word, which cleanses us from all sins, the Holy Spirit lives in us that we can live for God. (cf. Matt.3:15). Amen. Therefore, we should be holy and live in holiness. This is true.
David was a king and a warrior. So was Christ Jesus. He was a King Who was great in battle (Psa.24:8,10). Every time the children of Israel followed King David to battle, they believed David would win the battle. Likewise, as Christians, we have the assurance that we will win our battle when we follow Christ our King Who has the key of David.
By the time the Sardisean Age closed out, Jezebel had already built a mighty citadel with extremely high and strong walls around it and a door that no one could break through. The Roman Catholic Church was in full control of Western Europe. However, during the Philadelphian age, Christ gave the believers the key of David and set an open door for them to win the battles against that Harlot system. No one could close the door that Christ had opened because He alone had the key and the authority. In the political realm, there were wars and revolts in many parts of Europe. People wanted a better life and the freedom of religions. Through the ministry of John Wesley, the Star to the age, and other men of God, the stronghold of Mother Harlot was weakened and she lost her 'absolute power' over the people. By the end of the 18th Century, the Papacy was completely defeated though not destroyed.
Verse 8: 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.
In that city of Philadelphia the Church at that time bore the Name of Christ. Like all the churches in the days of the Apostle John, the saints were all water baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the doctrine of the Trinity was formulated in the Pergamean Age, the true believers had to contend for their faith in the ONE NAME of God Almighty. The true faith was already bedimmed and not fully understood in the way that it should be. Nevertheless, they held to the Name and did not deny it. As long as the predestinated seeds of God have a little strength, keep God's Word and do not deny His Name, the door of Christ will remain open for them to refresh themselves in the Word of God for the hour. They will be saved in the arms of Christ as long as they keep His Word. Amen. But one of these days the door will be shut as Christ takes His Gospel to the Jews. Then it will be too late. So, wake up, slumbering saints of God!
Verse 9: 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.
A synagogue is a Jewish temple. There were many such temples built throughout Asia Minor since the Jews were scattered in 70 A.D. At that time Christians truly appreciated the Jews through whom the Oracles of God and the Messiah were sent. Like those in the city of Smyrna, the saints in Philadelphia also had to face imposters who claimed they were Jews. The synagogue of Satan also refers to the false church who claims to be Christians. But God's love for the true Church would cause the false church to acknowledge and laud the true believers.
Verse 10: 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.
Throughout the Seven Church Ages, many Christians had suffered in their own ways during their hour of temptation. But that which shall come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the world points to a future period of eventful days of the Great Tribulation, after the True Church is raptured. It would be a dreadful hour of temptation for the people of the world but the enduring saints who keep the Word of God will be spared. So, let us be patient for patience produces experience (trustiness, character) and experience produces hope (confidence) that will not disappoint us. Already we have the revelation of the love of God in our heart (Rom.5:4-5). Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him (Psa.105:19). Without patience the fire of many Christians are dying out. Some have fallen from the faith while others are seeking for some sensations among the Pentecostals and the Charismatics.
Verse 11: Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Verse 12: 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.
If you are a born again child of God, you have a place in the Body of Christ and you also have a crown. So, hold fast to whatever you have received of God, and be an overcomer and you will be made a pillar in the Church of God. These pillars are strong and could not be moved. These are the ones who shoulder certain responsibilities in the assembly that God uses to strengthen the Temple. There are some Christians who move about so much, going in and out, among different assemblies that they could never be pillars. They could not even be a stone in the Temple of God because they are busy with their own self-righteous programmes that they are doing God a service without God's directive. God wants us to be living stones that are fitly joined and held together for the Temple of God (1 Pet.2:5; Eph.4:16) and not rolling stones that can never stay still long enough to be cemented into proper place in the Temple.
We have the Name of our God, it is YAH (Yahweh, Yahshua), but the new Name of Christ will only be known when we put on the new body in the First Resurrection. The Name of the Holy City New Jerusalem, which is the Wife of Christ (Rev.21:2,9,10) is reflected by the name of the City Jerusalem itself. Jerusalem is the City of God, the holy place of the Tabernacle of God (Psa.46:4). It is also called the Holy City (Matt.4:5), the Faithful City (Isa.1:21), the City of Righteousness (Isa.1:26), the the City of Truth (Zech.8:3), the City of the Great King (Psa.48:2) and other names which spiritually describe the Church, the Body and the Bride(-Wife) of Christ. We are the Holy City New Jerusalem in the making. But the Name of the New Jerusalem would only be known when the City is complete and placed in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Verse 13: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
A Letter to the Church in the Laodicean Age
Verse 14: 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;
We are living in the Laodicean Age which began around the year 1906 and which will end at the coming of Christ for His Bride. Though the name Laodicea means people's rights it was often used in honour of certain royal ladies. The name so chosen by the Lord is apt for this last age. There are indeed many 'royal ladies' (grand denominational churches) with people within them demanding their rights. But the only rights a Christian have are those which God has stated in His Word. But the Laodicean Christians do not want that. They may not openly say so, but they will water down the Word and Will of God to such an extent that they practically dress, talk, and behave just like the world. They curse, swear, cheat and lie. Their womenfolk cut their hair, paint their faces and put on shorts and trousers like men or dress indecently. Some of their men, with long hair, behave like women, almost. These Christians are being seduced by lying spirits (1 Tim.4:1). This last generation of the Laodicean Age is but a sick generation.
The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God Christ Jesus forfeited His own rights in order to do the will of our Heavenly Father. He was obedient to every Word of God and He fulfilled the Father's will that He became a living sacrificial lamb, taking upon Himself the sins of the world to the cross. He shed His own precious blood and died for the salvation of mankind. He conquered death that we might have life. Read John 17:4; 6:38; 5:19. Therefore we belong to Christ. Christ lives in us. We are no longer our own for we are purchased with a price (Gal.2:20; 1 Cor.6:19-20). For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Gal.5:13).
Verse 15: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Verse 16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
When Christians demand their rights, their priority to the Lord and His Word will be relegated to the second place as their individual rights preoccupy their minds. They are lukewarm and do not have the right spiritual judgement. They are neither cold nor hot. If they are either cold or hot, God will deal with them accordingly. But God is sick of lukewarm Christians and He is going to vomit them out of His mouth. They may have certain achievements in their works for the Lord. But God has no regard for their works. Truly, there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov.14:12). Get in line with the Word, beloved! Don't be like the church out there in the world!
Verse 17: 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:
How true it is! As this Church Age gets closer to the return of Christ, the church becomes vainer in their appearance. But the Bride, the True Elect, is not so. Each of the 'royal ladies' (grand denominational churches) would compete for greater attention of the world with their church programmes to increase their membership. They have different sorts of social activities to make the people feel good. They would raise large amount of money to buy properties and build large church buildings. Certainly, these grand denominations are so preoccupied with their riches and abundance of material goods that they feel that God is favoring them. But they are deceiving themselves in thinking that such material riches are the blessings of God. They are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked and they don't even know it! How pathetic it is for a person to be in such a situation and yet not realizing it. The same applies to the spiritual condition. It is simply lukewarmness! Beloved, these organized churches are but religious lodges. They are Satan's Eden. And God is going to cast them into great tribulation.
Verse 18: 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 anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is a God of love, grace and mercy. Before He passes judgement He would give a warning and provide a way of escape for those who have an ear to hear what His Spirit is saying to the church. He is counselling the church to buy of Him gold tried in the fire. In other words, He wants them to have the genuine faith that has withstood the test of fiery trials through the ages of time a Holy Ghost Faith in the Word of God, in Christ Jesus and in the Ministry of God for the hour. It is not just speaking in tongues, evangelizing the world, or doing good works, etc., but that Christ is revealing the Fullness of the Word of God in the believers that they may truly see the true riches in the Word and be spiritually clothed in the Word. However, many Christians just cannot stay still for a while to really hear and receive the Message God has prepared for them. So, they end up with counterfeit gifts and fool's gold that are worthless. But Jesus said:
Verse 19: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Yes, there will be a group of people whom Jesus loves. They will repent. They won't rebel as Jesus corrects them. They will respond to the love of God in Christ. They will hear the voice of God's Seventh Church Age Messenger, William Marrion Branham. They will receive and contend for the genuine golden faith that was once delivered to the saints in the days of the Apostles (Jude 3). The pathway of the believers is not an easy one. But to those saints that are faithful, the Apostle Peter admonished: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1 Pet.1:7). Amen.
Verse 20: 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.
As this Church Age comes to its end we see that Jesus Christ is no longer inside the church. This Church Age started with an outpouring of God's Gifts. The outpouring was supposed to get the church to pay close attention to the Word of God. Instead, we see the church wanting more of the gifts of God than the Giver Himself. Paul says that God gives and distributes His gifts as He wills (cf. 1 Cor.12) but the church is saying that all believers must speak in tongues or have at least one of the gifts. On the other hand, there are those who reject the gifts, saying that they are for the early church only. There are so much schism in the church in this age that every organized assembly, in some ways, claims to be the only 'royal lady' of Christ. How could that be when they have not only displaced the Word but have replaced It with the creeds and dogmas of man? Instead of worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, they are worshipping Him according to human traditions. They are so taken up with their religious activities that they do not even realize that Christ is no longer inside the church. Yes, this is the condition of the church today. Christ is outside the church and He is calling the people to open their hearts to Him.
The church today has no true message for the people of the world because Christ is no longer inside the church. So, in order to get the church recognized as a power, the 'royal ladies' are uniting themselves. Satan had it planned out in the early 20th Century to unite all these 'noble harlots' together under one roof One World, One Church to lead all of them back to their Mother, the Great Whore of Revelation chapter 17, which is the Roman Catholic Church. No wonder Revelation chapter 10 shows us that the Mighty Angel (who is Christ) swore that time should no longer delay for Christ to claim His right of redemption since His last message to the age has gone forth and the Church Age has come to its end. Through the message of the Seventh Angel to the age, Christ is calling God's elect to flee from the harlot system. Every true worshipper will open his or her heart for Christ to come in. And the heavenly table has never been so richly spread by Christ before the saints as in this last age as He feasts with them and they with Him. The Bride is getting back to the Word of God and is being perfected at this time by the Word of God through the Five-fold Ministry (Eph.4:11-16). Christ is revealing Himself in fullness to the Bride as He anoints her eyes with eyesalve.
Verse 21: 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.
God will grant to every individual believer, who overcomes the state of lukewarmness, who gets spiritually hot for the Lord Jesus, who lives a holy life and who does the Will of God, the right to share in the authority of Christ. Our Lord Jesus, as an overcomer, has set an example for us to follow. He laid aside His glory, took the form of man and was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb.4:15 cf. Phil.2:5-11). He overcame and is now sitting with God in His throne having all power in His hand (Matt.28:18).
Verse 22: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Have you heard? The admonition to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches is the same for all Churches Ages. There is not only the necessity to hear but also the need to have a spiritual ear to hear correctly the revelation of the Holy Spirit for the age. As Christ folds up the Dispensation of Grace to the Gentiles we need to be more prayerful in watching and understanding what the Holy Spirit is doing concerning the Kingdom of God that we might be a part of God's eternal plan.
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Revelation Chapter 4
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