The Messages to the 7 Ecclesias
THEN and NOW
The messages to the 7 ecclesias in Asia are
contained in Revelation 2 and 3...
they were primarily directed to those ecc-
lesias in approximately the year AD96 by
the Lord Jesus Christ via the apostle John
-see Revelation 1v1-
However the principles evoked in these 7
messages contain lessons for all time, and
each message points, in order, to a future
period, or periods, which reveal similar
circumstances, doctrinally and morally.
Three distinct future applications of the
messages have been identified. The most
important for us today is the application
to "the last days" of Gentile times...
these applications are set out below.
IN THE SAME WAY THAT THE SEALS ENCOMPASS
THE TRUMPETS, WHICH IN TURN ENCOMPASS THE
VIALS, SO ALSO DOES THE FIRST TIME-APPLICATION
OF THE MESSAGES ENCOMPASS THE SECOND, WHICH
IN TURN ENCOMPASSES THE THIRD. THE PERIODS OF
BOTH ARE SIMILAR, ENDORSING THE PARALLEL.
One aspect we would like to emphasize.
The pattern of the 7 messages is not new in
the Apocalypse (Revelation). This same pa-
ttern is revealed from the beginning at the
time of Creation. It is indeed a vast subject,
encompassing the whole of scripture...
for more details link to 'structure'.
There is a connection between the Book of
Proverbs and the 7 messages. We are cover-
ing this subject, as God wills, & when time
is available...link hereunder -
APPLICATION 1: AD96-324
& to the return of Christ
NOTE– dates given are as accurate as possible -
and the author acknowledges that this application
was first set out with almost the same epochs by
John Thomas in 'Eureka an Exposition of the
Apocalypse' Vol.1 pages 419-454 ('Logos' edition).
1 Ephesus: AD96-185 ch.2v1-7
Paul wrote to this ecclesia in Ephesians 2v4-6 that God had
through Christ "raised us up together, and made us sit to-
gether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus". Now Christ in-
forms them that they had "left their first love. Remember
therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do
the first works". The period shows that although they had
"tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and
hast found them liars", thus obeying the inspired advice of
John himself in his 1st epistle ch.4v1-6, the original "love
of (their) espousals"- Jeremiah 2v2 was becoming lost.
2 Smyrna: AD185-217 ch.2v8-11
This period marked a further decline. We see that a formal
division creating two parties had occurred- the faithful
were contending against " the synagogue of (Greek= "the")
satan". These were false professors of the Truth- link to
'satan'. There was persecution from the pagan authorities-
"the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be
tried". 'Devil' simply means 'false accuser'- link to 'devil'.
This enemy had caused tribulation previously- cp 1st Peter
5v8, but would later "be taken out of the way"- 2nd Thess-
alonians 2v7- which duly happened in AD312-324, cp Rev-
elation 12v9-11-link to 'departure'.
3 Pergamos: AD217-248 ch.2v12-17
The Truth in Christ had now been fatally compromised by
a mixture with pagan philosophy. It became common for
so-called 'Christians' to mix with the world on its terms
("the doctrine of Balaam") and to adopt the philosophical
teachings of the corrupters of that age ("the doctrine of
the Nicolaitanes"- sig.'the conquerors of the people'). And
so those who adopted these heresies became absorbed into
the society in which they lived, instead of being a separate
people, dedicated to God through His Son Jesus Christ.One
of the perverters wrote thus- "the notions which I derive
out of the writings of the Gentiles serve first to water and
soften the earthy parts of the soul, that the spiritual seed
may be the better cast in, and take vital root in the heart of
men". With "friends" like this, the Truth needed no ene-
mies, and the slide into disaster became irreversible.
4 Thyatira: AD248-273 ch.2v18-29
This period of time sealed the fate of nominal "Christian-
ity". It seems to have been noteworthy mainly for the pur-
suits of pleasure and present possessions. The stark con-
trast between the call of the Truth and worldly evils seems
to have been largely lost- and there remained only a few
who stedfastly set their gaze upon the new world to come.
Jesus Christ warned that "Jezebel" (representing apostacy)
had been tolerated, bringing in with her, as in ancient times,
all manner of pagan influences and consequent idolatry. He
prophesied that "great tribulation" would fall upon those
who continued in an such evil way of life. Such false teach-
ings as "immortal souls" were becoming common-place
within nominal "Christianity". The Lord also warned that
"great tribulation" would be visited upon the apostates.
The number '4' represents Divine authority & organization-
rebels suffer judgment- link to 'the Lord's day'-4th Vision.
5 Sardis: AD273-303 ch3v1-6
We learn from contemporary writings that various false
doctrines soon became embedded in what was no longer an
ecclesia but was in effect a "church". This was clearly iden-
tified in the affirmation by 66 "leaders" re "immortal souls"
and its consequent associated error "infant sprinkling".
(Was the number significant? Here is a false representation
of the 66 books in the Bible-re '6' link to 'structure').
Later a supreme apostate qualified as '666' cp ch.13v18.
Other pagan teachings such as a pre-existent Christ and "a
force of evil" were likewise undermining and replacing the
purity of the Faith. Jesus Christ condemned them thus-
"thou hast a name that thou livest, and (but )(thou) art dead"
-for although outwardly there was growth of numbers, this
only equated inwardly to spiritual death. The birth of the
"man child" was about to occur, when "the church" would
finally abrogate any claim to being separate from the world
by integrating into the armies of Constantine in a 'grab for
power'. After one prophetic "hour" (=thirty years, link
would come upon them– see message 6 below.
6 Philadelphia: AD 303-313 ch.3v7-13
The crisis foretold above had now arrived, and the Roman
emperors unleashed a fierce persecution against all those
called "Christians"- this occurred during ten-day years of
"birth-pangs" resulting in the birth of the "man child"
Constantine- link to 'departure' - especially 'as it happened'
for further details re this epoch. Some living at the time
realized that this persecution was the judgment of God be-
cause of declension ..Eusebius writes- "the dreadful perse-
cution of Diocletian was then inflicted on the church (AD
303-313) as a just punishment,and as the most proper chas-
tisement for their iniquities". Those who remained faithful
to the Truth had "an open door"* of escape, through which
they fled to the extremities of the Empire - for once the
Catholic apostacy gained power under Constantine, they
took upon themselves the role of persecutors- thus fulfilling
the prophecy of 1260 day- years of ch.11v3;12v6,14..1day in
prophecy represents 1 year- Numbers 14v33,34;Ezek.4v4-6.
* also see below
7 Laodicea: AD313-324 & to Christ's return ch.3v14-22
The "church" had by now been revealed in all her iniquity,
having taken up arms in the service of Constantine, the new
ruler of the Roman Empire. This patron of the apostacy
thus became the first in a long line of worldly rulers with
whom the Roman harlot-woman has "committed (spirit-
ual) fornication"- Revelation 17v1,2. John Thomas, to
whom we owe so much under the hand of God for our
understanding of the Apocalypse, wrote in 1861 in his expo-
sition 'Eureka'- "The characteristics of this (original Lao-
dicean eldership) are equally those of Laodiceans from
Constantine to the manifestation of the presence of the
Christ - "miserable, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked".
The Spirit, in the present advocacy of the gospel of
the kingdom, counsels them to buy of him "gold tried in
the fire, that (they) may be rich; and white raiment, that
(they) may be clothed, and that the shame of (their) naked-
ness do not appear; and (to) anoint (their) eyes with eye-
salve, that (they) may see". Thus He "stand(s) at the door,
and knock(s)" and ready to come as a thief-Rev.16v15.
But for the most part they pay no heed. Yet, if any will
open, He will enter in and sup with him. Who then will
hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias?".
* a gracious invitation was also held out to those in this
Laodicean epoch of compromise, when the door was shut-
"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" -
this promise involves the restoration of fellowship-see p.3.
link to 'foundation' for further explanation.