The Lord speaks of the vision which John has just seen as:
- The things which are. (96 A.D)
- The things which shall be hereafter. (In the future).
Here we are definitely shown that prophecy may have a double reference – or a double fulfillment.
The Things that Be Hereafter:
- Ephesus – Apostolic age (96 A.D)
- Smyrna – Church of the Persecution (2nd Century)
- Pergamos – Church of Imperial Favor. (313 A.D)
- Thyatira – Church of the Papacy. (450 A.D)
- Sardis – Church of the Reformation (1517 A.D)
- Philadelphia – Church of the latter day outpouring. (End of Age)
- Laodicea – The Lukewarm Church. (End of the Age)
- The Church of Ephesus: (Apostolic Age)
The Apostolic Church was still in existence, for John was still alive, and only died two years later. The Church of Ephesus was the only church out of the 7, that was founded by an Apostle. (Acts 19:1)
Paul resided there for 3 years.
- i) This church in the days of Paul, were believers who had been baptized in water. They also received the Baptism of the Holy ghost and spoke in other tongues. (Acts 19:5-6)
- ii) It was a Church where outstanding miracles of healing occurred. (Acts 19:11-12)
iii) It was a Holy church, one that stood against the goddess Diana and the evils of that day. (Acts 19:19)
- iv) It was a Church that was persecuted for its single mindedness and devotion to Christ.
- v) It was a Church where the whole Gospel was preached.
- vi) It was a Church which was warned of apostasy against the day when “grievous wolves” would enter and pervert the Gospel. (Acts 20:29)
vii) It was a Church to whom Paul unfolded the deepest mysteries of Gods plan for the Church. (Eph 1:9) in his epistle.
NB!! They were rebuked for having lost their “first love”, because religion had begun to be substituted
for the original glow. The temple of Diana one of the 7 wonders of the world was here.
- The Church at Smyrna: (Church of the Persecution 2 A.D)
This Church at Smyrna represents the period of the great persecution. (98-312 A.D)
- i) Caesar worship began as a means of unifying the Empire, even as the Anti-Christ shall do.
- ii) Christ’s letter to the Church at Smyrna speaks eloquently of tribulation, poverty, sufferings, imprisonment and death. During this time, an untold number of martyrs gave their lives for the cause of Christ.
iii) Smyrna was the city where Caesar-Worship was particularly emphasized and many martyrs such as Polycarp gave their lives.
- iv) To such martyrs, Christ gave these words of encouragement by speaking of Himself as the “first and last, which was dead and is alive”.
- v) The name Smyrna means Myrrh, which was used in the burial of Christ. It was a fragrant spice, which had to be beaten into fine pieces so that it would give off its fragrance.
Christ said that they would have persecution for 10 days, which could be reference to the 10 major persecutions under: Through all this, Christ was still able to praise the Church for being a Holy, Godly, Faithful church that continued in the Faith, midst the greatest of tribulations and trials. The temple of Cybele and Zeus Aurelius were here. On the sea end and near the hills.
- The Church at Pergamos: (the Church of Imperial Favor)
- i) The church at Pergamos answers to the Church of Imperial Favor, which begins at the Edict of Constantine in the year 313 A.D. Instead of Christianity being a persecuted religion, it became the State Religion.
- ii) Christ said that the Church dwelt where Satan’s seat was. Rome, the capital of the world, the 4th of the Beast Kingdoms of prophecy, was properly the seat of Satan, and now became the center of the Christian Religion.
iii) The City of Pergamos is an apt type of Rome. As the center of Caesar Worship, its goal of healing was Aesculapius the Serpent, the very emblem of Satan himself. Its healing arts were a counterfeit of the true ministry of healing of the Early Church.
- iv) The name, Pergamos, means “married”. Thus portraying its union with Pagan Rome, the world.
The Doctrine of Balaam:
Is the seduction of people away from their vows and separation to God, resulting in missed marriages, fortification, and the eating of things sacrificed unto idols.
The Doctrine of Nicolaitanes:
The word Nicolaitanes, comes from “nikao” meaning “to conquer” and “loas” the laity. It is symbolic of the development of a priestly order that ruled over the laity. (Math 23:8-9) Call no one Master or Father.
Mystery of the 7 Churches.
- The Church at Thyatira: (The Papal Church 450 A.D)
The one strong point about the Thyatira Church was that it had a superabundance of works. Jezebel is the Papal Church which arose during the Dark Ages.
- i) Jezebel of the Old Testament, the wife of the weak ad vacillating Ahab, was an idolate. She induced her husband to introduce idolatry into Israel.
- ii) She was responsible for the law being passed making it illegal for the children of Israel to worship Jehovah. She had systematically destroyed the prophets of Jehovah, except for Elijah, and those whom Obadiah hid in a cave, and fed with bread and water. (1 Kings 18:4,12) Likewise the Papacy during the inquisition persecuted those opposing them.
iii) Christ said, “She teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fortification”.
- iv) The Lord gave the Papacy the opportunity to repent, which it will never do.
- v) The Lord speaks of the terrible judgment that will come upon her. She is the woman who rides the beast in (Rev 17).
- vi) The Thyatira church had a lust for temporal power, which has been assigned to those who overcome.
- The Church of Sardis: (The Reformation 1517 A.D)
The Church of Sardis represents the period of the Reformation begun by John Huss, Wycliffe, and Martin Luther etc. The Church of Sardis sadly needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit in His fullness. 7 is the number of completeness, and is the number of the “eyes of the Lord”. The works of the Sardis Church were in an unfinished and imperfect state.
The 7 Spirits of God: (Phases of the Spirit attributes)
- i) The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.
- ii) The Spirit of Wisdom.
iii) The Spirit of Understanding.
- iv) The Spirit of Counsel.
- v) The Spirit of Might.
- vi) The Spirit of Knowledge
vii) and The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord.
Sardis was a mighty church with a great name. It shook off Jezebel, but retained many of its forms and trappings. Its reform was not perfect. Ceremonies, Liturgy, Ecclesiastical attire, Candles, Alters, Processions, Soft music, anything that produces a synthetic spiritual atmosphere is a substitute for, and therefore, a replacement of the Holy Spirit.
- The Church of Philadelphia: (The Faithful Church)
The Philadelphia Church refers to the closing period of the Church age, as also does the Laodicean Church. It is the Faithful Church, the “Church of Brotherly Love”. It is the only active church which has no reproof. It is the first of all spirit filled churches. It is an active missionary church, and it has successfully withstood the attempts of Satan to corrupt its doctrine. It has retained its first love.
The Open Door:
- i) Christ is the open door. (John 10:7) (John 6:37) (Rev 3:20)
- ii) The open door of the Gospel. (Col 4:3)
iii) The Rapture of the Church. (Rev 4)
The 7 Promises to Philadelphia Church:
- i) Promise of the Open Door.
- ii) Promise of vindication against the synagogue of Satan.
iii) Promise to be kept from the hour of temptation.
- iv) Promise of the 2nd coming.
- v) Promise that overcommers shall become pillar in the temple.
- vi) Promise that they should go out no more.
vii) Promise that God will write on them the name of God and the city of God.
- The Laodicea Church: (The Lukewarm Church) (End of Age)
The Laodiceans thought to cure defects in Physical sight, but spiritually they were blind. (Rev 3:18). They put their trust in material prosperity. Laodicea believed in the welfare of the state, and trust to build a lasting civilization on material benefits. Paul warns in (Col 2:4) against “philosophy, vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
It is lukewarm – partly hot, partly cold – divided between the world and Christ. Not willing to give up pretension and claim to the heavenly, and yet clinging to close the earthly – having too much conscience to cast off the name of Christ, and too much love for the world to take a firm and honest stand entirely on His side. (2 Tim 3:1-5) Paul prophesied of the Church that in the last period men would be Lovers of their own-selves; covetous; boosters; proud; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; unthankful; unholy; without natural affection; truce breakers; false accusers; incontinent; fierce; heady; High minded; Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having the form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.
The “Door opened in Heaven”:
This speaks of the rapture of “the First-Fruits” of the church.
- i) The first 3 Chapters of revelation deal with the 7 Churches of prophecy, and as the Church age comes to a close, a rapture takes place. (1 Thess 4:13-17) (1 Cor 15:51-52)
- ii) The 1st words of the 4th Chapter of Revelations, “After this,” indicate the events now taking place as being the Rapture.
iii) (Rev 3:8) A promise to the Philadelphia Church of an “Open door,” and to be kept from “the hour of temptation,” – The Great Tribulation.
- iv) John also mentions “a Trumpet” that speaks to him as a voice. (1 Cor 15:51-52)
- v) The voice said, “Come up hither”, speaking of a rapture. These words are also used for the 2 witnesses. (Rev 11:12)
- vi) 24 Elders having on their heads, crowns of gold. These are the redeemed Saints who have been translated or resurrected, for they sang the song of the redeemed.
The 24 Elders:
- i) They are human beings, redeemed of God (Rev 5:9). They sung a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for those worst slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation.
- ii) They are a special class of the redeemed. (Rev 1:6) “And hath made us Kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.”
iii) They are symbolic of the overcoming Church. 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles of the Lamb.
The 4 Living Creatures:
These are the same Cherubim’s of the book of Ezekiel. Both visions have, “there was by them the likeness of a throne,” the Glory of the Lord was manifest, “there is a rainbow about the throne.” Thus these are the guardians of the throne of God. (Eze 10).
The Book with 7 Seals:
The Book in the hand of Him that sat on the throne evidently contains the title deed of the earth. The Law of the Kinsman Redeemer, says that only a Kinsman may redeem a last possession, or inheritance, as in (Ruth 4:1-12). Christ has the right of redemption, first, by reason of His incarnation in a human body and becoming a near-kinsman (Luke 1:30-35) and second by His ransom of the race, accomplished on the cross. (Math 20:28). Christ sealed this promise with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 1:13-14).
NB!! Daniel 7 and Revelation 4-5 are parallel accounts of the judgment scene.
The 4 Horsemen:
These four horsemen are presented as symbols; (personifications not personalities) symbols of the human agencies divinely employed to execute the judgments upon the Earth.
- i) The White Horse: (1st Seed) Rev 6:1-2 (False Peace).
The rider is not Christ, as Christ is seen on a white horse in (Chap. 19:11). The only similarity is the horse not the rider, since war, famine, death, martyrdom do not follow in the wake of Christ’s returning Christ comes on a white horse at the end of the Great Tribulation, not at the beginning. Notice that he had to be crowned, as his weapon he carries a bow with no arrows. This speaks of deceit and (Dan 8:25) says “by peace shall destroy many,” this false Prince. (1 Thess 5:3) This refers to a period of false, deceptive peace for, as said of the rider revealed in the breaking of the first seal, “he went forth conquering and to conquer. The rider is the Anti-Christ.
- ii) The Red Horse: (2nd Seed) Rev 6:3-4 (Blood, War).
The rider was given power to take peace from the Earth. He had to be given a great sword, for war. (Math 24:6,7). The outcome will probably be the 10 Kingdom Federations over which the Anti-Christ shall become the head. This is the time when all ties of restraint, national hostilities, and international treaties violated without corruption, civil authorities unable to check the flood of violence, riots, class wars, race wars, etc. shall occur. The breaking of the treaty with Israel after 3.5 years.
iii) The Black Horse: (3rd Seal) Rev 6:5-6 (Famine)
The rider holds a pair of scales in his hand and a voice arises out – “A measure of wheat for a penny; and three measures of barely for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Math 24:7) Christ Prophesied it. The olive and the grape do not need cultivation, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.
NOTE: (Lamentations 5:10) “our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.”
- iv) The Pale Horse: (4th Seal) Rev 6:7-8 (Death)
The rider is death. He is the only rider that is named. Hell (Hades) follows in the wake of “Death” ready to swallow up his victims caused by war and famine. One fourth of the world’s population is exterminated, and hell claims their soul’s liter a scavenger.
- v) The 5th Seal: (The Souls of the Altar) Rev 6:9-11
John saw the “souls of the martyrs” under the Altar. They are not the Martyrs of the past age, but of those who will be killed during the Great Tribulation for the “Word of their testimony, and who love not their lives unto the death. (Rev 12:11) After the Church is “caught up” the preaching of the Gospel will be resumed. (Math 24:14) As it is a proclamation that Christ is about to set up an “Earthly Kingdom,” great persecution will follow. (Math 24:9-13). They ask that their death be avenged, but are told to rest for a “little season”, until they were joined by their fellow servants and brethren who should die as they did. (Rev 20:4) The fulfillment of the promise.
- vi) The 6th Seal: (Great Physical Changes) Rev 6:12-17
The judgment of the 6th Seal unleashes devastating fury upon the Earth. John beheld 6 great catastrophes purposed to shake the very starry heaven and the whole Earth. (Joel 2:30-31) (Math 24:39) (Isa 13:9-11).
The Judgments to date are:
Which were executed by the Anti-Christ as an instrument of Gods purpose. Now God unlashes His battalions – the Elements, Lightning’s, thunders, hail, fire, flood, and earthquake. Thus:
1) An Earthquake
2) The sun darkened as black as sackcloth
3) The moon becoming red as blood
4) A devastating shower of meteorites
5) The parting of the heavens as a scroll
6) Every mountain an island is shaken out of place. Terror will strike all who live on the Earth and they will cry to the mountains to fall upon them to hide them from the face of God, and the consuming wrath of the Lamb.
Judgment Restrained: (Rev 7:1-3)
The 4 Angels are commanded to hold back the 4 winds symbols of Judgment, while God accomplishes His purpose, the sealing of the 144 000 Jewish witnesses to Christ as their true Messiah. 12 000 from each of the 12 tribes. They are sealed with the Fathers name. This is when the Great Multitude are “brought up”, in the middle of the 7 year tribulation period. The 144 000 are taken 6 months later. This is the 5th and 6th rapture to take place.
NOTE: The sealing is a mark on the forehead, initiated by the Anti-Christ.
- The 7th Seal: (Silence) Rev 8:1
The silence is for a limited period, and is the preparation time for the greater conflict to follow. Following this “silence”, the 7 Angels in succession sound upon 7 trumpets.
NOTE: The Day of Christ: (Phil 1:6,10) The judgment seat of Christ for believers only (2 Cor 5:10)(1 Cor 3:11-15) It is the day of Christ’s Presence with His saints in the heavenlies were their service is assayed, their crowns washed, and the marriage of the Lamb celebrated. This is in Heaven for 7 years.
The Day of the Anti-Christ: (2 Thess 2:1-2) Is here for 7 years on the Earth, but in the Day of the Anti-Christ the Day of Man and the Day of the Lord overlaps. (1 Cor 4:3) 3.5 years. (2 Thess 2:1-4)(Joel 2:1-11) 3.5 years.
NB!! These events take place before the 7th Seal is opened.
The 6th Seal represents the visible coming of Christ and the beginning of the Great and terrible Day of the Lord. (Rev 6:17) It is the Day of Wrath spoken of so many times in the Old Testament, prophecies. (Zeph 1:14-18).