Welcome again to another broadcast. I am Dreamwalker1960
Today we will be studying the letters to the seven churches found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
I will also be consulting the John Walvoord commentaries for this as well. Why? Because of all the commentaries that are out there that deal with trying to interpret the book of Revelation. I have found this one to be the most creditable. Again why? John Walvoord dealt specifically with the books of prophecy within the Bible and has several books upon this. They cover Daniel, Matthew, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians as well as the book of Revelation.
What drove me to seek after this knowledge of these books?
Well in the introduction podcast I mentioned a dream I had when I was 18. What is in this dream is something between me and God. However it sparked my journey to earnestly study the Bible, and as I read the Bible the books of Daniel and Revelation stood out the most to me.
Well a church had been built right next to my home I was living in my late teens. So one Sunday I went to it, mainly because of the dream and my desire to learn more about the Bible. It was a Methodist Church. And the Minister began to talk. What did he talk about? The book of Revelation. First thing out of his mouth. “The book of Revelation is a fairy tale.”
I was shocked and never went near a Methodist church ever again. This one event caused two things to take place. An even stronger desire to learn the truths within Revelation and a very strong mistrust for the buildings called “churches.” For the “Church” is not a building but those people that follow Jesus Christ. This latter fact has been reinforced time and time again as I have tried to go to the buildings that call themselves “churches.”
But I have gotten off track.
The seven churches and why discuss them? What a majority of scholars have determined is that even though these seven churches were churches that John did write to. They represent the seven types of mental states within the body of Christ within each of them at that time. From faithful, to willfully turning away from Christ. However as time has marched on since those letters were written approximately 60 years after Jesus went to the cross and rose again on the third day. That these letters reflect how the church, both religion wise and spiritually had reflected each of these letters throughout the centuries. Meaning that they are both concurrent and chronological.
Concurrent – happening or existing at the same time
Chronological – arranged in the order of time
I will be dealing mainly with the Chronological aspect of the seven churches.
That being said, when taking the churches in order. The first letter to Ephesus to the last letter to Laodicea expand from the beginning of the church age to the end of the church age.
The beginning of the church age began on the Third day when Jesus Christ left the tomb. While the ending of the age is when those within the Church are taken into heaven at the Rapture. What happens in between people have always though was a mystery. However, when taking these seven letter into account God is telling us how we will know when to expect His Son’s return.
In the book on Revelation by John Walvoord the seven churches are described this way:
1. Ephesus – the Orthodox, but lost Church
2. Smyrna – the Suffering Church
3. Pergamum – the Compromising Church
4. Thyatira – the Tolerant, Permissive Church
5. Sardis – the Dead Church
6. Philadelphia – The Faithful Church
7. Laodicea – the Lukewarm, Useless Church
The Chronology follows suit.
This first phase goes from the times of the letters which later become the New Testament to approximately one hundred years after the crucifixion. In this time were the descendants of those who has seen Jesus themselves. These people adhered to the teachings in the letters but could not fully comprehend what their parents had told of their firsthand encounters with Jesus.
The second phase interlaced with the first phase, for in this time those that worshipped Jesus were seen as criminals. In fact in the histories written by Josephus, is an account of James the half-brother of Jesus who had been tried and then stoned with others for breaking the law. However the prosecution ended in 313 A.D. when the emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made it legal for Christians to worship God freely in the Roman Empire.
When Constantine made it legal to be Christian it became the popular fad to be Christian. And so the compromising began. So it can be said that this letter in the chronology began in 313 A.D. and the corruption and intermingling of different beliefs started to change and corrupt the true faith in Jesus Christ. I will quote from the book on Revelation by John Walvoord page 67:
“Though some benefit was gained by the successful defense of biblical truth by the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, the history of the three centuries that followed is a record of increasing corruption of the church, departure from biblical doctrine and an attempt to combine Christian theology with pagan philosophy.”
So this would place this in the time line up into the 600s.
It is here that pagan influences entered into the church and are still present today. Like all saints day, which led to Halloween, and the birth of Christ being celebrated in December. As well as the inclusion of statues and images being made of Jesus.
All of this is mainly due to the official introduction of the Catholic Church in 313 A.D. However there is evidence that can show the church unofficially existed as early as 110 A.D. Now even though the Catholic Church become the “official” church throughout the Middle Ages. It was filled with corruption and led mostly by a greedy self-serving hierarchy.
It is partly this behavior, but it is also due to the fall of the Byzantine Empire that a shift took place. Which result in Greek transcripts of the Bible to make their way into Europe. And so this period ends in 1517 A.D.
Now even though that Great Reformation was going on during this time period. There was a type of spiritual death occurring in this time frame. A spiritual death that resulted in the persecution of those that sought after the true teachings of the Bible. The great expansion of “civilization” took place in this time frame and many cultures were dominated or destroyed. The Spanish Inquisition occurred in this time frame and greed was the ruler of most hearts. Also the lusts of man’s carnal desires which caused the creation of the Church of England. From within this came those that sought after the truths within the Bible. The Quakers and the Puritans. And so this period can be said to end when these people fled Europe for a new land where they could worship God and Jesus in the way the Bible taught them. When they landed in what is now called Massachusetts in 1620 A.D. this period ended.
Again we can say there has been some overlapping between events in these letters. For as I stated at the beginning of this podcast. The churches were not just chronological, but concurrent. This is seen here. For as I mentioned the Great Reformation began in 1517 and is the beginning of the time period of the fifth letter. Well it is also the beginning of the sixth. In this time period not only did we get as mentioned before those that settled in what is now the United States. We also had the spreading for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ all the way down to the common people. This was done through the creation of the printing press and the work of those to translate the Bible to the common languages. For example the King James Version of the Bible which is made officially ccertified in 1611 A.D. This great expansion and growth in faith and believe did not end until the 1960s. However we can give an official end to this period. That being August 1969, and it was even given a name. Woodstock.
And so we come to the last church that is foretold will precede the return of Jesus Christ and the entire reason the book of Revelation was written. We come to the description of the “lukewarm.”
Revelation 3:17-18 – You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.
This is also today’s church which has been seduced by the luxuries of this soft and pampering world we now live within. Even now the children revolt against their elders. Thinking they know better than those that have been in this world longer. They have been so spoiled that they wish to have everything just handed over to them. This is selfishness to the extreme. This is the total opposite of placing God first and treating all those about you as you would wish to be treated yourself. The golden rule is dead and it was killed by those that wished to kick God totally out of the world. Well now as violence is on the increase. Different social groups begin to self-segregate, refusing to interact with none but their “own.”
So we are now in the last age of the church. Most do not wish to accept or believe they are “lukewarm.” Yet this letter from the Glorified Jesus Christ says otherwise. When will Jesus return? All I can say is soon. Very soon, maybe even sooner than many may think.
I have written an entire series on these letters in my blog at dreamwalker1960.com I will repost it soon after this podcast drops. If you wish to read it please do so. Also I do highly recommend the John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries.