After having studied the book of Revelation, together with prophecy, for many years, and having found its great value in exposing deceptions, confirming Bible doctrines, and Christian experiences, I have decided to write a small treatise on the "Seven Churches", as recorded in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation.
I wish to acknowledge much help received from Smith's Bible Dictionary, Peloubet's Bible Dictionary and various encyclopedias, in giving historical and geographical information.
In prayerfully studying the seven churches, as symbols of the seven ages of the gospel day, my own soul has been blessed. With an unbiased and unprejudiced mind, I have asked God to let the spirit of truth give me the truth concerning this matter, for which I give Him thanks and praise.
My purpose in writing this booklet is that I feet the spirit of God directing me to do so. I am convinced, from the facts given in this book that God is not pleased with many things, which happened in the past and are happening at this present time. For the purpose of making plain good and evil, right and wrong, deception and truth I have sincerely penned these few pages. I trust that many will see the New Testament Church -- what it, is, and what it is not.
I have not intended to personate people, or become their judge, but I remember Jesus says, "The words I speak will judge you in the last day." With a heart full of love for my heavenly Father, and the souls of men, I earnestly pray these truths, herein given, will bless others as they have blessed me.
Yours in Him, J. F. Lawson
THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA...
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Rev. 1:1. "John unto the seven churches…" Rev. 1:3. "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks." Rev. 1: I2. "And he had in his right hand seven stars." Rev. 1: 16. "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Revelation 1:20.
The book of Revelation is a book of symbols. It is the history of the church, God's people, through the entire gospel dispensation, from Jesus' first coming unto his second coming. The very first verse says it is "The revelation of Jesus Christ;" Christ revealed through his people, the church.
Jesus was seen standing in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, holding seven stars in his right hand. Then we are told the seven candlesticks are the seven churches, and the seven stars are the angels or ministers of each church age. This is where we would expect to find Christ: in the midst of his people. He always held in his protecting hand of safety and power, the ministry that were his.
"John, unto the seven churches." John's letters, recorded in the second and third chapters of Revelation, gives spiritual condition and standing of the people, as a group, during that certain epoch of time. By examining history we will find some of these church ages had more light on the Bible than some others. They are called candlesticks and they shined according to the light they had. The people of each age were responsible for the light they had. It is a fact there were congregations in each one of the cities mentioned in Asia, at the time of the writing of the Revelation, A. D. 96. God uses them as symbols in writing his message, that He might reveal it in the last clays, or "evening time" of the gospel day.
The gospel day, from Christ to the end of symbolic language, which, no doubt, is near the time of his second coming, is divided into seven candlesticks or church ages. The first ended about 270 A. D., the second about 530, the third about 1530, the fourth about 1730, the fifth about 1880, the sixth about 1930 and the seventh about 1980. The day and hour of the coming of our Lord is not known, but surely we can see the "fig tree budding," and can know the end is nigh even at the door. I see a spiritual application, of the conditions and surroundings of each city, in which the church was located, which fit the spiritual conditions and surroundings of the church, in that particular age of time. A more detailed explanation, of some of these points touched on in this booklet, are given in our book, "Revelation, With Gospel and Prophecy.
"Unto the angel of the church at Ephesus, write;" Rev. 2:1. Let us notice the conditions and surroundings of the city of Ephesus. It was near the coast, on the West side, about the center of Asia Minor. It was a thriving, prosperous city, with great commercial facilities. It was built partly on small hills and in the valleys. Its soils were fertile, and was watered and drained by two rivers.
There was a thriving, spiritual congregation of the church of God, here in this city. It is said this church numbered around 10,000 saints of God, in the year 100 A.D. It is a very fitting symbol of the first candlestick age, which reached up to 270 A. D. A prosperous church age, indeed. This city had outlets, which made it possible to reach all the surrounding country. In this age the seed of the gospel fell on rich fertile soil. The two streams that watered this city, bringing freshness and life, are beautiful symbols of the WORD and SPIRIT, the source of all spiritual life, power and growth.
Near the head of the bay, in the city of Ephesus, stood the temple of Diana. There were other temples of heathen worship but the temple of Diana was the 'capsheaf' of all. It was 425 feet long, 220 feet wide and had over 200 marble columns 60 feet high. It was the pride of all Asia. It was here where the uproar was held in Paul's time, recorded in the 19th chapter of Acts. The destruction of this temple began in the 3rd century, when its gates were taken to Constantinople, Turkey, and Rome, Italy, which later became the center of Roman Catholicism. This temple was torn down and carried away, the city destroyed; now there is nothing left but ruins and swampy marshes.
Now let us notice these literal things as symbols of spiritual conditions during the first candlestick age of 270 years, of the Church of the living God. The Diana Temple and worship is a symbol of the dragon powers, which stood before the woman (church) to devour her child, mentioned in Rev. 12:3-4. This congregation in Ephesus, prospered in spite of the heathen worship it had to face, insomuch that its temples were torn down. In like manner, the Church prospered into its millions in the first candlestick age. Like the Diana temple, Paganism was broken to pieces and carried into Constantinople and Rome, and became the dogma of Catholicism. Many of the cults and forms of worship in paganism became a part of the practices of the Catholic church.
Paganism could not stand before its two great rivers and fountains of living waters--the WORD and SPIRIT. Pagan worship began to crumble, as the Christians went everywhere preaching the word of God. Millions professed a hope in Christ.
At the close of the first candlestick age, Roman Catholicism began to take foundation and form, using much of the Pagan dogma as ritual and worship. So in spirit, the gates and columns were carried away just like the temples in the city of Ephesus. Heathen worship, in its ancient form was broken, torn and carried away into beast worship, branded Christian, in Catholicism and Protestantism, and is handed down in the form of the eighth beast-World Council of Churches. And is spoken of again in the 16th chapter of Revelation as the working of "The three unclean spirits."
"Unto 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; I know thy works, and thy labors, 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; And hast borne and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Rev. 2:1-4.
These folk had a commendable record until we reach the last statement. They had the qualities that produced the fruit of the spirit, with vigilance and steadfastness in the faith that condemned false apostles and showed them up as liars. Considering the church as a whole in this first candlestick age, they stood true in the face of persecution, opposition and even death, "And for his name's sake they fainted not." Pagan powers tried to crush the true religion of the Lord Jesus Christ by punishing, murdering and slaughtering the Christians; they were burned at the stake, thrown to wild beasts, sawn asunder, pulled to pieces by beasts of burden, but the church thrived on the blood of its martyrs.
Near the close of this first candlestick age, the loss of their first love was seen very clearly. That love one gets when he is first redeemed is always valuable and essential to live so as to please God. It sets us against sin, opens every avenue of our hearts for God and truth and works 'a carefulness' in us. It is fruitful soil for the Holy Spirit to reveal the deep things of our heavenly Father concerning his people, and to have HIS way in their lives.
The loss of this love is the first step into backsliding. With such a condition existing in the hearts of people, God is given 'second place'…this He will not accept. Many in this condition went on professing. Not having the spirit of God to guide them, they were led into deceptions and apostasy. The last part of the first candlestick age was 'marked by' much carnal quibbling amongst the ministry. This was, and has always been, a sign of apostasy. Those that were spiritual and stood for truth, stood like giants in battle. Little by little, carnal leadership and doctrines of men, like the octopus, slowly but surely, fixed their deadly grip that strangled and killed the divinely organized, spirit-filled, and spirit-led Church of God. Resolutions were passed in their assemblies giving power to boards and committees. These conditions opened the way for a carnal desire for preeminence among the ministry. It was soon granted that the Bishop or Pastor of the large congregations should have preeminence over the others. By 270 A. D., this departure from Bible truth had well laid the foundation, which developed into the Roman Catholic church. These things were thought to be harmless and necessary by those following the CARNAL mind, who had lost the leadership of the Spirit by losing their "first love." The loss of that "FIRST LOVE," brings spiritual blindness and loss of vision…then, man steps in and tries to take God's place-- "As God sits in the place of God."
No doubt there was an EGO among many of the ministers which said, "We are the continuation of the GREAT APOSTOLIC CHURCH, WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS TO ITS CREDIT, WE CAN'T BE WRONG. We are IT and IT can't go down." In this blinded condition they fail to see that God will not stay with a people that leave HIS TRUTH.
Thus, the first candlestick age was brought to a close, and the second candlestick was ushered in under grave circumstances.
"Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write." Rev. 2:8. There was a church of God in the city of Smyrna, which God used as a symbol of the second candlestick age, extending from 270 to 530 A. D. First, let us notice the surroundings and environment of the church in the city of Smyrna. I
Smyrna was about forty miles north of Ephesus at the mouth of a river emptying into the Agean Sea. It was surrounded by the water on the west; mountains on the north, east and south. Its worship was paganistic, but Tiberus granted the city permission to erect a temple in honor of the Emperor and Senate of Rome. In the time of Strabo it was said to be the most beautiful city in all Asia. Its cafes were fascinating and beautifully lighted, so that at night they looked like fairy houses. Its streets were rough with granite- like boulders in them. The alleys were full of pits and holes which made it dangerous at night. The city was morally bad: at times, being plundered at night by vandals, bandits and robbers, making it unsafe to be out.
It was a rich, prosperous city. It followed its fortunes by falling in line with its new conquerors. Its wealth lay greatly in its commerce. Camels laden with goods would often crowd people off the streets. This city was affected by earthquakes, wars and fighting…changing hands many times as a result of battle. There was a library and museum with beautiful porches dedicated to Homer (said to be one of its natives) an Odium, and a temple to the Olympian Seus.
At the time of John's writing of the Revelation, A. D. 96, there was a congregation of the church of God in the city of Smyrna. God has used it and its environment to symbolize the spiritual conditions which surrounded the second candlestick age, from 270 to 530 A. D.
First, let us notice the location of Smyrna. It lay about forty miles north of Ephesus. This would symbolize a moving north into a colder climate spiritually, cooling off. The first or Ephesus church lost its first love; its candle- stick had been removed and the second candlestick set in its place. The apostasy had begun. Any church losing its first love is bound to apostatize. The Holy Spirit was ruled out by the fleshly desires of carnal men. Offices of authority and man-rule began to be set up. Men began to seek preeminence, aspiring to places of authority. It was soon granted that the bishop or pastor with the largest congregation should have authority over the pastors of the smaller ones. In their assemblies they began to elect men to these man-made offices in the church; this began to take on substantial form about the year 270 A. D., and within a few centuries had developed into the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
During this second candlestick age; God had a people, a church, symbolized by the church in Smyrna, called the second candlestick. Their knowledge of the word of God had faded until they were far from the Bible standard in many ways, yet some knew how to get saved. Some stood tenaciously against the teachings and practices of the beginnings of Catholicism. The congregation in the city of Smyrna was prosperous, but not like the church in Ephesus. Their difficulties were harder to overcome. As time went on, it dwindled to a smaller number. The church in the second candlestick age had to face this apostate condition developing into Catholicism. As time went on, the saved people became fewer in number. The dogma of Catholicism would not save souls. By the end of the second church age the light of the candlestick was shining very dim.
Smyrna was a place of many battles and changed hands many times. So it was with the Catholic church in its beginnings. They had much wangling and battling among themselves; the stronger conquering the weaker. With paganistic practices being brought in and branded Christian, they soon decided that religion was an external performance instead of an inner experience. They persecuted all that opposed them. The church in Smyrna had rough traveling over the granite-like boulders in the streets of the city; in like manner, the church had rough going in the second candlestick age facing the growing Apostasy. Vandalism in the city at nights was just like the spirit of Catholicism in its beginnings…taking everything by force and forcing it into the Catholic faith. Like the laden camels, Catholicism soon crowded everything else off the streets, and by 530 A. D. had complete power and control. The Catholic creed, in its changing and conquering prosperity from 270 to 530 A. D., was in spiritual opposition like the city of Smyrna was to the true church in its city limits.
The people were granted permission to build a temple in honor of the Emperor of Rome. This is just what happened in the second candlestick age, when the Catholic church came into existence. It was erected by the people and not by God. Also a temple was erected to the Olympian Zeus; significant of worldliness in the Catholic institution. An Odium of hate was also erected. The church in the second candlestick age was surrounded and lived in the midst of such conditions.
Today there still remains a large city at the place of Smyrna. Many of its temples have been torn down or changed; some fragments scattered around. The temple erected in honor of the deified Rome had in its walls, as filling, busts and heads and fragments of idol gods. Let us remember that the Catholic church was made up of fragments of heathen worship branded Christian.
The peculiar worship of the city was of the god Bacchus, the mysteries of which was administered with great pomp. Such a spirit was certainly found in Papal Rome in the second candlestick age. The food, which the Catholic church dished out, was of no spiritual value. It was made of great show, pomp, and pride. And like the cafes of Smyrna, lighted and sparkled like fairy houses in the darkness of the night, so the spiritual cafes were decked and adorned by the pomp of men blazing with idol worship in the darkness of spiritual night.
The fragments of busts and heads of images, which remain around the present city of Smyrna, are mutilated by the Turks because of their hatred against such things. Catholicism, in its changed forms, will receive its final 'blows,' will be destroyed and its fragments will be mutilated by Communism, the unclean spirit out of the mouth of the dragon at the end of the seventh seal.
The Catholic church and State were combined in this second candlestick age. They persecuted even unto death the Christians who would not adhere to and submit to their dogma of worship. They owned the places of worship. The true Christians had to worship in dens and caves because of the persecutions of Papal Rome. They were burned at the stake, sawn asunder, pulled to pieces with beasts of burden, thrown to wild beasts, eyes punched out, hot awls punched through their tongues, unless they would recant and pay homage to deified Rome; this, many would not do.
"And unto the angel in Smyrna, write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulations, and poverty, (But thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogues of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer." Rev. 2:8-10.
In this study we have shown that the Smyrna church fits perfectly in this second candlestick age. They were commended for their faithfulness under such conditions. The message unto the angel or ministry said, "I know thy poverty, (yet thou art rich)." They were poor in things of this world but rich in heavenly grace. The Catholics claimed to be the spiritual Jews (the church), but we are told they were the synagogues of Satan. They were told not to fear any of those things they would have to suffer. God's grace is always sufficient regardless of what happens. This group was seen later with white robes. Praise God!
"And unto the angel of the church in Pergamos, write." Rev. 2:12. Pergamos was a very important city in Asia Minor. Its general conditions and environment are used to symbolize the spiritual condition of the church in the third candlestick age, which began 530 and ended 1530 A.D. Pergamos was located about sixty miles north of Smyrna, about twenty miles inland on a river. This moving north indicates a getting into a cold climate spiritually, the church now has gone into complete darkness. For one thousand years the one stream (river) of pagan worship, branded Christian under the name of Catholicism, flowed through the city or age of time where the saved people lived.
Pergamos had its beautiful groves filled with many idolatrous temples, theaters and an amphitheater in which was a den of the wild beasts. At the time of John's writing about A. D. 96, there was a Christian church in this city with this kind of an environment to face. At the close of the Smyrna candlestick age, which ended 530 A. D., the church was in the midst of spiritual darkness, just a few having enough light and understanding to get saved. They were told they would suffer tribulation ten (one hundred years) days, which extended through the Pergamos candlestick age. This persecution, killing both spiritually and physically, extended through the entire ten days of prophetic time, of which "Antipas", his faithful martyr, was a symbol. There were thousands and, perhaps millions killed in this great amphitheater of Catholic persecution, who would not submit to and support their idolatrous worship.
One of the chief industries of this city was the use of sheep and goatskins to make parchments for the writing of books. It was also noted for its large library. In thinking of the saved people as sheep and the unsaved professors as goats, there was enough history connected with it during this Pergamos church age to make a library. It would take volumes of books to record all the history of idol worship and their persecutions of those who opposed them.
The origin of the city of Pergamos is not known. About two hundred years B. C. Pergumon deposed its king, took over the city and set up the family of the Italian kings. This is a clear symbol of Catholicism, in the Pergamos candlestick age, conquering paganism and setting up its line of Popes.
The remains of these temples and churches lie in heaps of ruin. Parts of their columns and other parts of these buildings have been carried away and placed in other buildings. The Catholic church, of which Pergamos was a symbol, has gone through many changes, broken and torn, and carried away into hundreds of Protestant movements.
There was a palace of the kings in the city of Pergamos, which has been thrown down, only heaps of ruin left as markers. The power of the Popes has been broken, driving them into the Vatican exile. The Popes, during this third candlestick or Pergamos church age, had absolute power as church and state were combined together. There were a few Christian people scattered through this long period of time, who would not conform to the Catholic faith, that were persecuted relentlessly. If they would not recant, they were thrown to the wild beasts in the amphitheater. If they did recant and give over and conform to the requirements of the Catholic church they were thrown into the great arena of the Catholic amphitheater and devoured by the beasts and dragonistic spirits.
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos, write: These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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." Rev. 2:12-13. During this one thousand year period of the Pergamos church age, many Christians stood true to what light they had and was commended for their fidelity. Satan had moved out of crumbling paganism and took his seat in the Catholic church, bringing over his cults and dogma of heathen worship. The Christians were surrounded by such worship on every side. Yet they did not deny His NAME and His FAITH. For their faithfulness many, like Antipas, suffered martyrdom.
"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 stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which things I hate."
The Catholics tried to destroy all the Bibles and keep the people from reading it. The people were in. ignorance. No gospel preached as nations. A few got saved, but were ignorant of how a Christian should live. Some may have belonged to the Catholic church, who were saved, who were led into eating things spiritually offered to their idols in Catholicism. The Catholics held the doctrines of Balaam, idol worship and required all to conform to it. It is very possible that some saved people, in their ignorance, were mixed up in such things.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was polygamy-many marriages. When a person is saved they are married to Christ. Rom. 7:4. Then to join or be married to any group, movement or man-made church is to commit 'spiritual fornication.' This is exactly what he is telling the angel of the church at Pergamos and God said he hated such things. They were told to repent or He would fight against them with the sword of his mouth, which is the word of God. They did not repent and He began to fight with the sword of his mouth in the next or Thyatira church age.
"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 unto fine brass." Rev. 2:18.
The church at Thyatira is the fourth church mentioned in the Revelation. It followed the one mentioned located at Pergamos. We have placed the Pergamos candlestick as the few Christians who lived during the long Papal night of a thousand years; ending with the beginning of the Thyatira age, which began 1530 A. D. The Augsburg conference, 1530 A. D., marks the ending of the Pergamos and the beginning of the Thyatira church ages. This conference was called by Charles Fifth of Germany for the purpose of discussing the faith of many who had broken with the Catholic church and it marks the beginning of the Thyatira candlestick age, with a little more light shining on the paths of the people of the church.
From 1530 to 1730 A. D. justification by faith was preached. Instead of confessing to the priest, people began to confess their sins to God and believe on His Son Jesus Christ. While ignorant in many ways and of many things in the Bible, the doctrine of justification by faith was preached and embraced by many, which constituted the church in this candlestick age.
At the time John was given this message on the isle of Patmos there was a church, a congregation of God's people, located in the city of Thyatira. Now let us notice the environment and conditions in this city and apply them to the spiritual conditions, which surrounded the people of God in this fourth candlestick age in the gospel day.
We notice on the map that Pergamos is located the farthest north, being about 60 miles north of Smyrna, signifying spiritually cold and frozen. Thyatira is a little southeast of Pergarnos on the Sardis road. East is the direction from which light comes and south is going toward a warmer climate. This is just what took place in the fourth candlestick age, from 1530 to 1730. It being located on the Sardis road, it would seem clear that the next move of the people of God was into the Sardis candlestick age from 1730 to 1880.
The city of Thyatira was located on the border of Misia and Lydia, some times thought to be in one and at other times in the other. This is exactly the way the people were in the beginning of the Protestant age. They were so confused they did not know where they were-- some times on one side and at other times somewhere else. The church at Thyatira was located in a city whose streets were paved with fragments of sculptured stones from wrecked temples of worship. In this fourth candlestick age the road on which the saved people were given to travel was paved with fragments of pagan and papal worship. Catholicism reached down and got heathen cults and branded them Christian in the Catholic worship. Then Protestantism made an image to the beast (Catholicism) by using many of its sculptured stones in its ritual.
In the city of Thyatira they worshipped Appolo under the name of a Macedonian king. In this fourth candlestick age, reformers were made idols of worship. Appolo is said to be a twin son of the god Zeis, and his mother Leta is said to have fled to an island, where he was born, because of jealousy of other gods. The Protestant reformers, who are worshipped as idols, must have all been twins according to the great number that existed.
Another peculiar worship was that of a Sambatha or Sybil--a woman endowed with the spirit of prophecy or fortune telling. This was said to have been brought there by proselyte Jews. This image of a woman as an idol was a clear symbol of man-made churches in the Protestant age, which are erected by proselyte Christians. In many places a woman is used as a symbol of the church. This is what is referred to in Rev. 2:20: "Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which callest herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and. to eat things sacrificed unto idols." In the Protestant age, the ritual or creed of man-made churches became its prophetess or teacher, leading its members into spiritual fornication. Their church became their Sybil and God. Spiritually what ever it suggested, became their food; so they ate things sacrificed unto their church, which was their idol. Once 'tied to these idols,' not many ever 'gave them up.' This spiritual fornication, in the sight of God, is just as bad as literal fornication.
In the city of Thyatira they deified and worshipped many of their kings. In the fourth candlestick age, many religious reformers and leaders were exalted to high place. By many, their teachings were adhered to as though they were infallible.
Inscriptions are found in the ruins of this city, which give an account of many incorporate societies, showing different professions and trades. We only have to look into the ruins of the conditions, which existed in the fourth candlestick age to find fragments and signs of their spiritual positions and crafts in their man-made organizations.
At the present time the city of Thyatira has a population --of about 15,000 people, about three-fourths of which pay taxes and one-fourth, the poorer class, are exempt. The present condition of the remains of what happened in the fourth candlestick age has, like that city, took on many modern changes. It is generally supported by the wealthier class who pay the bills, but some of the poorer class belong within its sectarian walls.
History tells us that, at the present time, there are many remains of antiquities, such as sculptured stone, generally in fragments built into modern walls, or used for troughs or well covers. The prophetic and spiritual mind can see the application. We now can see some of the fragments of the antiquities, carved by the leaders of the fourth Candlestick age, now placed in the modern walls of sectarian institutions, which had their beginnings in the fourth candlestick age. Some of those man-carved doctrines and practices are still used as troughs, out of which the old practices in their modern form, are fed to the people. History also mentions that some of the fragments of these sculptured temples are today used as well covers. It is plain to see that some of the fragments of the spiritual temples, which Protestantism erected in the fourth candlestick age, are today used to cover the well of the water of life. Those old heretical teachings are today covering the fountain of living waters from thousands of souls, who have nothing more than membership in man-made institutions, which had their beginnings in the fourth candlestick age.
In Revelation 2:18-24 there is a message from the Son of God to the people of this church age of Thyatira from 1530-1730. The people in this age did not understand this message. "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the MYSTERY of God should be finished." Rev. IO: 7. We are now living in the age of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and it is given unto us to know the mysteries. We are to be the ones to profit by the revelation of the deceptions of the fourth candlestick age.
In Rev. 2:19 we read: "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." We notice they were complimented for their works first and last. They had some truth with their deceptions. God blessed according to their faithfulness to the truth they had. They had more works at the last of this candlestick or church age than they had at the beginning. It is reasonable that they should make improvement.
The outstanding charge against them was: "Thou sufferest that woman, Jezebel, which callest herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." Rev. 2:20. These people had built or organized churches of their own, and God likened them unto Jezebel, the harlot. In a spiritual sense they had Joined themselves unto harlot churches and committed spiritual fornication. Jesus wants his people to belong to nothing but He Himself and His church. We are told the remedy is repentance. Since she did not repent, Jesus said, "I will kill her children with death." This he did later with the preaching of the judgments of God against her sins. When people hear the truth that exposes false, Jezebel churches, they will, either die to it, come out and take their stand against it, or die (spiritually) in it…which ultimately, could lead to 'eternal death.' SARDIS...
"But unto the angel of the church in Sardis, write." Rev. 3:1. Sardis is the fifth church mentioned in the Revelation. At the time of John's vision on the isle of Patmos, there was a congregation of God's people located in this city. Let us notice the conditions and environment which surrounded this church, then let us make a spiritual application to the Sardis candlestick age in the gospel day, from 1730 to 1880 A. D.
The geographical location of the city of Sardis was about 28 miles southeast of Thyatira. This would signify that the people had moved out of the Thyatira age over into more light on the word of God, as they move east, the source from which light comes. Also, it would signify a warmer climate spiritually. In this, which some call the 'Wesleyan age,' sanctification and holiness was preached. The light of this candlestick age was brighter than the one which preceded it, because of more light on the Word of God. There was a road from Pergamos to Sardis by the way of Thyatira. In the sixteenth century there was a road opened from the Catholic faith to the experience of justification by faith in Christ. In the Wesleyan age the road was opened, by light on the word of God, to the experience of 'entire' (as some referred to it) sanctification or 'holiness.' A reformation has begun which will lead God's people from the dark Papal night to the blessedness of the "evening light."
Sardis was a prosperous commercial city. Many of its traders ceased their traveling and settled down to business in their home shops. Certain kinds of manufacturing had their beginning here. Dyeing and coloring of wool garments was discovered here.
In making a spiritual application we can readily see the people of God in the Sardis age were surrounded by some conditions of which the city of Sardis afforded conditions as true symbols. The people in this age, while they made merchandise of people and churches, became more settled and did not move around as in the previous age. In the preceding age the people had only the experience of justification to twist and color, of which the dyeing of cotton goods was a symbol. Now they have the doctrine of 'entire' sanctification or holiness to reject, twist and color. It is a greater art to color wool than it is cotton.
There was much idol worship in the city of Sardis. The temple of Cybele was noted and bore marks of architecture of human hands. Its large, high columns were outstanding features, two of which outstripped the others in their grandeur. In Greek mythology this temple is called the 'mother of the gods' or often the 'great mother.' Spiritually, this 'goddess,' or 'mother of the gods,' is a symbol of the sectarian institutions or man-made churches, which arose in the fifth candlestick age. The true church that Jesus built is our spiritual mother. "Jerusalem, which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Gai. 4:26. The great temple of man-made churches and creeds became the mother of its children or subjects. To many, it was their idol. They worshipped their sect or creed.
In this spiritual temple, in the Sardis age, all sectarian churches are considered a part of it. While they disagreed and fought each other in many ways, yet they were of the same spirit. In their structure too much was "wood, hay and stubble." Only a small part would stand the test. At the present time only two columns of the temple Cybele are standing; all the rest of them have crumbled, were ground into lime and hauled away. There were only two things preached that still stand as monuments to the Sardis age. They are justification and sanctification. The rest became wood, hay and stubble, and would not stand the fire of truth. They crumbled and were carried away. In the Sardis age many things were preached and practiced, making many columns and piers in the great structure of Protestantism. Justification and sanctification were two that still stand, and will stand until Jesus comes.
Mention is made of Sardis being the ancient home of the Kings of Lydia, many of whom are buried at the north side of the city. The Sardis church age was the home of many great leaders in the Protestant reform, many of whom died spiritually, refusing to walk in more light as it was shined on their pathway.
"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 are dead." Rev. 3:1. This is a message to the people of the Sardis candlestick age. As a group, they were dead; only had the name. Many did not live up to the light and standard they had preached to them. Individuals and even groups chose rather to stay with their sect or movement, than to accept new light against opposition. Many of the spiritual leaders of the Sardis candlestick age (kings) belonged to the group, which had a name that they lived but were spiritually dead. Like the dead kings of Sardis, they should have been buried on the north or cold side of the city.
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found thy works perfect before God." "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. 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. 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." Rev. 3:2-5.
We are told here that there were a "few names even in Sardis who had not defiled their garments." They had walked in all the light they had: that is what it takes in any age to keep clear before God. They were warned to "remember how thou hast received and heard" the word of God, to hold it fast and repent of their negligence of those things that caused a failure in their perfection before God. There is a white robe for each one who will measure up to the word of God. In speaking of the masses as a whole, he said, "They had a name that they lived but were dead." No doubt God had to remove the names of many from the book of life. This is a sad picture. It just means that many lost their souls who, at one time, were gloriously saved. [ a note from Jerry…It could be that the 'writer' may have 'gone a little overboard here'…It seems reasonable that the meaning might have been…that many lost their 'spiritual life' at 'that time' (?) ]
The old city of Sardis was destroyed by an earthquake and a new city is further to the north, and a railroad is now running through the new city to the city of Philadelphia.
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and Io, there was a great earthquake." Rev. 6:12. This was a spiritual earthquake, which took place at the opening of the sixth seal or the Philadelphia candlestick age, 1880 to 1930 A. D. At this time more light came on the word of God. Like an earthquake, it shook and destroyed man-made churches and creeds. Like the two columns of the temple of Cybele, justification and sanctification are the only two things that survived the confusion of the Protestant age. Since the earthquake of the sixth seal brought the first cry "Babylon is fallen," there is a new, modern city being erected a little further to the north (cooled off), which we are told is not so important as a commercial center as the original city.
We now stand at the close of the Sardis age, 1880, with justification and sanctification being preached. The fourth and fifth candlestick ages had broken the dark papal night, and souls are once more saved from sin, their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. More light is yet to come. It comes in like an earthquake, and shakes and crumbles the great columns and pillars of Protestantism until all that is left standing is justification and sanctification. The new city is "The World Council of Churches," Babylon the Great, and is still bartering their earthly wares of man-made religions.
"And unto 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. 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. Be hold, 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. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." Rev. 3:7-11.
Both history and the Bible seem to be clear that there was a church established in the city of Philadelphia by the apostles and early Christians. This church was here at the time of John's writing of the Revelation about A. D. 96. This is one of the seven churches of Asia. God seems to have arranged in His divine Providence to fit the sixth candlestick age in the gospel day, dating from A. D. 1880 to 1930.
Philadelphia is located about 28 miles south cast of Sardis. It was founded and named by Attalus Philadelphus; B. C. 140, as a mart for the great wine district, which is celebrated by Virgil. It is on the little river Cogamus, which joins the Hermus near Sardis, surrounded almost by an amphitheater of hills, bowered with orchards, in the midst of extensive gardens. The rock is basilic…, but covered with deep, black rich soil. The great staple is opium, which is entirely monopolized by the government. Herodotus says that sugar cane was anciently cultivated, and mentions a confection made of tamarisk and wheat, which is today the favorite sweetmeat of Philadelphia (called halca), after a continuance of over 2,000 years. When Xerxes was on his way to Greece he rested under a great plane-tree near the city, and so much admired its beauty that he appointed a keeper for it, and adorned it with golden ornaments. Plane-trees still flourish here, which surpass all others in the country. (Smith's Bible Dictionary).
Philadelphia lies in one of the most beautiful and fertile valleys of Asia Minor. It seems to have the natural environment for a prosperous city. These, when given a spiritual application to the church, in the sixth seat age, would mean a growing, victorious, prosperous church. In God's great plan, more light has come. The Philadelphia church age has light, which the Sardis church age did not have. With justification and sanctification having been preached, one more great Bible doctrine now comes to light: UNITY OF GOD'S PEOPLE AND A DIVINE CHURCH. This new light began to shine forth. D. S. Warner, followed by many others in the sixth candlestick age, preached a divinely organized church, free from man- organized churches, doctrines and creeds, which had divided the Christian people into many groups. The word of God was preached in such a clear way that the sin of division was exposed and division makers were marked. The Bible standard of divine healing and holiness was preached, together with the ordinances of feet-washing and the Lord's supper. Like the beautiful, rich, fertile valley of the Hermus, with its orchards and gardens, the church grew and was fed on the sweetmeats of a full gospel message.
Philadelphia is located about 28 miles south east of Sardis. Now let us notice that we have spiritually moved south into a warmer climate, and a little closer to the horizon in the east "from whence our light cometh."
This city was located on a flat plateau of four hills, about 600 feet above sea level, and was never invaded by an alien army. It was in an amphitheater, with mountains all around it. The TRUTH, preached in the sixth candlestick age, built once more the Church of God as in the days of the apostles. This gold, silver, and precious stones will stand until Jesus comes. It will never go clown. Some people have and will slip and go into apostasy, but the TRUTH which brought the great earthquake in the sixth seal (Rev. 7:12-13) burned up the "wood, hay, and stubble" of Babylonian confusion in man-made organizations, and assembling once more the true people of God into the one body of Christ, the Church.
D. S. Warner and others, who saw the truth concerning the church, saw the name "Church of God." In like manner, as the church in Philadelphia was surrounded by ranges of mountains, so the Church of God in the sixth seal was surrounded by the mountains and hills of Babylonian confusion. The ministry preached a clear message as to a divinely organized church, made it clear that Jesus was the Head and governor through the work and operation of the Holy Spirit. They preached against organizations in the church, which would rob the Holy Spirit of his place of leadership. The ministry was careful about appointing official boards, councils, committees, and such a thing as an earthly headquarters was preached as an abomination in the sight of God. The message preached, put all the ministers on an equality--no big I's and little you's. No partiality was to be shown. Each minister was urged to get his leading and messages from Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. An endeavor was made to keep the way open for God's man to have the pulpit. Divine healing for the sick was preached, not only as a privilege, but as a duty each one owed to God to trust Him instead of man. Holiness was preached with much emphasis. A salvation was preached that would save people from ALL sin. Worldliness was not tolerated; modest apparel was emphasized. Much criticism is offered today to justify a departure from these standards. We are not dealing with some individuals who may have been fanatic or backslidden at heart; we are dealing with the fundamental principles of the word of God as it was taught by the ministry as a whole.
Now regardless of what you or I may think about it, let us turn to the word of God and see what He says. Let us notice what he says to the Philadelphia church. "I know thy works, and 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." Rev. 3:7. God has not offered one word of criticism against this church. He says they have kept his word. This would lead us to believe the message generally preached and practiced by the group as 'a whole' was acknowledged by God Himself as His word. "I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews (Christians) and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and TO KNOW I HAVE LOVED THEE. Because thou HAST KEPT THE WORD OF MY PA- TIENCE I will keep thee from the hour of temptation." Rev. 3:7-11. These words make it plain that God highly commends the people of this Philadelphian church age. He even says he would make others get down at their feet and worship just like they did. What more is needed to prove God was pleased with their standard of faith and practice? Near the end of this Philadelphia candlestick age, which ended 1930, some began to depart from the faith and slip from the standards of the word of God, which were being taught. "Hold that, fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." No doubt many have lost their crown by departing from God's TRUTH.
In Rev. 3:12 we read: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. . . ." He just means that those who live out this candlestick age and start the next one, lifting these standards of truth with victory, God will be able to use such a one, in the next candlestick age, to His glory, and make them pillars in His temple or church. Sad to say, many coming out of this age into the next one, lost the victory, compromised and sacrificed many of the fundamental principles previously practiced. Such a one is in no condition to become a pillar in the next age.
We notice it is said, "I set before thee an open door." Thank God, that door has never been closed. The way is open for "whosoever will" to go right into the light of the seventh candlestick age, and become a pillar in God's church. Like the city of Philadelphia, the truth during this age was not invaded by any alien force. At the same time, there was a spiritual opium, used by the kings of spiritual Babylon, which put many to sleep in sectism and division, whom the glorious truth was never able to awaken.
We are now coming to the last candlestick age. We are told in Rev. 1:20 that the seven candlesticks are the seven churches of Asia. We are told that those who overcome in the Philadelphia age, God would make pillars in His church in the Laodicean age. There is a greater revelation of truth to be revealed in this last age, which will never be accepted by those who are not victorious in the truth of the previous age.
"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; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou were cold or hot; So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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 thy eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcome, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an car let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 3-14-22.
Before I enter into the discussion of the conditions of the church in this age I want to make some quotations from Smith's Bible Dictionary, page 277. "LAODICEA, an ancient city on the Lycus, in the valley of the Meander, forty miles east of Ephesus. Its site was on seven hills, which were drained by two brooks, the Asoprus and Caprus. The ruins are of a stadium, in very complete preservation, three theatres (one of which was 450 feet in diameter), bridges, acqueducts, and a gymnasium, which testify to its ancient wealth and importance. Its original name was Diospolis, which was change to Rhoas, under which title it became the largest city in Prygia. Antiocus 11 gave it the name of his wife, Laodicea."
Now let us notice the city of Laodicea, which is located south east of Philadelphia and due east of Ephesus, the church of the apostles' time. This would mean the spiritual climate is getting warmer and more light as it has moved east from Philadelphia. The seventh candlestick age carries light on the Revelation and prophecy, that the Philadelphia church age did not have. Its site being located on seven hills would mean that the light of the seven candlestick ages is revealed. We are told in Rev. 10:1-3 that a mighty angel (the ministry of the seventh candlestick age) "set his right foot upon the sea (Catholicism), and his left foot upon the earth (man-made earthly institutions), and cried with a loud voice, as, when a lion roareth, and when he had cried seven thunders uttered their voices." This is the ministry who came out of the Philadelphia age with victory in all the light they had, who now have received and accepted the light of the seventh seal age, whom God is making pillars in his temple. The voice of the seven thunders is bringing the understanding of the seven ages corresponding to the seven mountains on which the city, of Laodicea was located. Only a. few accept this message, consequently, only a few will become "pillars in the temple of our God." This city on seven hills was drained by two brooks. In this seventh seal age, there are two streams, which drain the city, the true church, keeping it clean and removing those who will not walk in the light. One is, those that say, "What I have is good enough for me, and I am not looking for anything else; I am with a group whose prestige and honor I will not sacrifice." There are a great number who have accepted the light of the sixth candlestick age, but who will not have the light of the seventh. They fall into a stream of spiritual stagnation, "drawing back", refusing and fighting the truth of God. This is one of the streams that drain the spiritual city, and many are drowning in its waters of fearfulness. I am personally acquainted with many preachers who accepted the light of the Revelation message of this seventh candlestick age, had it preached to their congregations, and said it was the best thing they had heard. As time went on, they found the group they held to, had rejected the message. They decided to recant rather than to lose their prestige and standing with the group. This proved conclusively that they loved the applause of the group of old association more than they loved light and truth.
The second stream, which is draining the Laodicean candlestick age and causing the unstable ones to fall, is the stream of compromise. About the closing of the Philadelphia candlestick age (1930) many, who called themselves Church of God, had slipped from the practices of the standards of truth they claimed to stand for. The standard of holiness was lowered so as to tolerate worldliness. Some ministers scarcely mention divine healing and, of course, they do not practice it. Jesus is the head of the church ONLY IN NAME. The governing power, that Jesus should have, is now vested in the ministerial body, who meets annually at a certain headquarters, with all minor details and schedules working out of that. All local pastors and preachers, in order to be in good standing, must center all things toward this centralized movement. I say this to show how some have compromised the truth once preached in the sixth candlestick age. Such things were absolutely preached against and condemned, with plenty of Bible to condemn them. Such a group of people will not accept the seventh candlestick message, because it condemns such unscriptural procedure. We must preach and practice the truth for which God commended the saints of the Philadelphia church age; this still stands in full force and binding upon the church. The seventh candlestick age has brought understanding of the symbolic language of the Revelation and prophecy which condemn this compromise trend. This is the main reason it is not accepted. Daniel says, "And some of them of UNDERSTANDING shall fall, to try them and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end." Dan. 11:35. We are certainly living in the "time of the end." Thousands are being swept down by one or the other of the two streams cleaning out those who refuse to walk in the light.
"And it shall come to pass, in all the land, saith the Lord, TWO PARTS THEREIN SHALL BE CUT OFF AND DIE; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." Zech. 13:8-9. Here Zechariah is telling about the two parts cut off and the third part brought through the fire of persecution. Only a few will stand the persecution; too many are drowned in the two streams, which drain the city.
The two parts, which are being cut off by the truth of the seventh seal message certainly persecutes those who accept and preach the message that cut them off.
The city of Laodicea was overthrown in the 12th century A. D. According to Smith's Bible dictionary the ruins are still preserved and show three theaters, bridges, acquiducts, and a gymnasium. The true people of God, who accept this light and truth, are in the midst of the well preserved ruins of fallen Babylon. These theaters are made clear in Revelation 16:19 and 13, "And the great city was divided into three parts." This division was according to the working of the three unclean spirits of verse 13. The bridges would represent the conveniences of the apostate doctrines taught in the Laodicean age. The gymnasium furnishes a place for entertainment and worldly amusements, which are certainly given a place in the modern religious world in the present age.
Before this city fell, in the 12th century, it changed its name and became the largest city in Prygia. The great city of Laodicea, which is the city of Babylon, in the seventh candlestick age, changed its name to the World Council of Churches, and is now "BABYLON THE GREAT."
Antiocus II gave this city the name of his wife, Laodicea. The analogy is not hard to make. The second ruling powers over this city has changed its name to WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES, calling it the wife or BRIDE OF CHRIST. This is a false claim. The true bride of Christ is HIS true worshipers, and are found in the midst of and surrounded by these modern Laodicean conditions.
Here is another quotation from Smith's Bible Dictionary: "The emperors were also deified…It became the seat of an archbishop, and in its cathedral church were gathered several councils; in one of which, a system of supplying the villages or small societies in the interior with church services by itinerating the presbyters, was adopted under the direction of the bishop of Laoclicea…The acquiduct (which supplied the city, and is now almost perfect), which conveyed water down one hill, across the plains, and up another, in stone pipes, prove the Romans to have been acquainted with the hydrostatic law of water finding its level. The stone pipes have a diameter of 2 feet, and are fitted into each other at the ends, and the calcareous deposits from the water has incrusted them, forming almost a continuous pipe without a visible joint." "The seats in the stadium have let- ters and numbers; their owners are the keeper's marks."
These historical quotations have a spiritual meaning in this Laodicean or Babylonian city in the seventh candlestick age. They actually tell us spiritual things in the so-called religious world. Without question, the great all wise hand of God has directed it all.
We have just quoted that the people in their procedure deified their rulers; this was in the city where God's church was located. In this Laodicean age of today the influential, noted leaders are exalted and placed on a high pedestal of honor, with a spirit of praise ascribed to them, which God only should have. The ARCHBISHOP spirit is dominating, today, in all groups that have an earthly centralized headquarters, even in some groups that preach much of the Bible. The 'church of God' people, that had God's approval in the sixth seal age, have slipped, have a headquarters and are using the itinerating system of supplying pastors to the churches; All state, district and local assemblies must recognize the ARCHBISHOP dignitaries located at headquarters. This is the practice of the denominational or sect- arian world; any group of people that practice it IS A PART OF "BABYLON THE GREAT," which is fallen.
There are high seats in this human system of operation which are marked and kept for certain dignitaries, who are introduced with pomp as Dr. 'so and so,' who fill 'this or that' GREAT PLACE in our GREAT ORGANIZATION. The water line in tact and operation could mean nothing more or less than the great stream of the water of life, which, thank God, is still going and cannot be interrupted by the apostate system of men. It hits the high ground and the low with equal strength, power and force, and can be enjoyed by all who will deny and humble himself, and walk in the light as God flashes it on his pathway.
"Hierapolis has lately furnished a fine proof of the truth of an account of Strabo, who speaks of a deadly vapor, which kills any animal that approaches the place. The experiment was tried by Svoboda on two fowls, and resulted fatally to both in death." (S. B. D.)
If you have been getting the message thus far, it will not be hard to understand the spiritual meaning of this poison. Dear saint of God, there is much poison in the borders of this Laodicean city of today. The Only thing, which will make you immune from this deadly poison is the truth of this seventh seal age. It is God's remedy. When the light shines, and is rejected, the poison kills. The great city of Babylon is filling the entire world today. Its systems discredit God. Its poison is killing. Groups and movements are promoting great programs with money-raising campaigns, who are in the swamps of muck and rnire, in the city of "BABYLON THE GREAT," and who have lost contact with the great stream of life.
There are many preachers today, some of whom once knew the truth of God, who have been swallowed by the apostate trend of lukewarmness, scattering this deadly poison that kills wherever it gets a hold in the hearts of people.
Now let us turn to the letter in Revelation 3:14-22 written to the people of this Laodicean age. "And unto the angel of the church of Laodicea." This message is first to the angel or ministers of the church. If they do not hear God's message and declare it to the people, all will suffer together. "Write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness." This is God's message to His ministry. It will pay us to look into it. Many know this message and many more will have the opportunity, with the responsibility resting upon them. If only the ministry of today could realize the importance of thus "Saith the Amen," and that God has said "The flock will I require at their hand." "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." God is making himself clear that He is not pleased with the works of the 'professed' church. Religious education, teaching the art of HOW TO DO THINGS, is the great motto in the colleges, seminaries and churches, which is resulting in great programs. But because of the lack of spiritual fervor God would rather spue such a people out than to own them.
There is no question about 'lukewarmness' working in all evangelical groups today. It is a leprosy that is making spiritual paralytics. Many are affected with coldness and indifference; other things seem to have first place. Being spued out of the mouth of God is a tragical condition. Its final analysis is death. It is not hard to see churches and movements that have lost their power. This had its beginning with individuals who saw light and truth, and failed to keep pace. Many of these have fallen under strong delusions and turned to believing a lie and are damned. I do not say this to criticize, but for the purpose of warning. It does not pay us to deny or ignore facts. We should face them squarely and fairly, because we will have to meet them at the judgment bar of God.
To be spewed out is to be without the spirit to guide us. We are then left on our own wisdom (wisdom of the world), which God says is foolishness to Himself. No wonder many, who once knew the truth of the true Church of God have gone back and adopted the wisdom and customs of BABYLON THE GREAT. It is no wonder Holy Spirit leadership and government has been taken out of the hands of God and vested in boards, committees and a centralized headquarters. Men of "understanding" have, and are, falling. Men who once seemed as solid as 'concrete' have become 'jelly fish.' God had a people in the sixth candlestick, or Philadelphia church age, with whom he did not find any fault. This cannot be said of the masses in this age. Only a few will stand the test of the fires of persecution and opposition; only a few will stand true to God and truth when the old crowd, church. or movement begin to fossilize around apostate principles, which are contrary to the word of God.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. 3:17. Here we are told the reason for lukewarmness and being spued out. Prosperity motivates a feeling self-security, which robs one of the feeling of a need for God. There never was a time in the history of the church, that it felt so prosperous in a temporal way. I am thinking particularly of the 'Church of God' as it emerged from the sixth candlestick age. It has made great strides in a financial way. It owns millions of dollars worth of property; great money-raising campaigns are put over. They no longer can say, "Silver and gold have I none," and with this gain they have lost the virtue to say, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and walk." In the past twenty years healings, miracles and spiritual power have diminished; just a few in comparison, and they are generally among the lay-members. Signs should increase with numbers, but sad to say, they are not. The church is not clothed with humility, faith, power and victory; it is bare and naked before the world, to their shame and regret. Poor in spiritual things and so spiritually blind that they cannot see it. This is a tragedy.
Many have fancied that because some gospel is preached and a few souls get saved, that God's approval is upon all they are doing. A Pentecost storm would be worth far more than a million dollar campaign.
"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 thy eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear thy voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Rev. 3:18-21.
Here is the warning, and remedy given. Unless people are willing to open their eyes, see and acknowledge these sins, with a sorrowful and penitent heart, they will never get back to God. They are lost when spued out of the mouth of God.
The lukewarmness of this Laodicean age has brought a dreadful spiritual blight in the church. The ministry was first smitten. "Awake, 0 sword against my shepherds, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand upon the little ones." Zech. 13:7. Some of these were once the true shepherds, stood for the true word of God; they were his "fellows," meaning God's ministers. They no longer ask for "the old paths." They are giving an uncertain sound. The sheep, the saints of God, are being scattered. They are no longer drawn into the one unified body with the truth of God's word. Many are scattered into the modern practices of "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS." Many preachers are saying the church of God is "just a movement among movements." That is the way they see it. They have lost their vision. Many preachers who have come up in the past fifteen or twenty years never heard a message teaching and clarifying the true church of God… free from man-rule and organizations of men. Such a message can only be preached by men who are free from such things. Such messages as: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, and the hole of every foul spirit," are not preached any more. Consequently the other voice (Spirit) which says, "Come out of her, my people," is not heard. In the sixth candlestick age these messages were preached; they gathered a people out of confusion into the UNITY of the FAITH, in whom God said, "I find no fault in them." The truths that brought out a people in the past age are not preached and the sheep are being scattered. The city of Laodicea was located in the valley of "Meander," which means "to wander." God said, "I will turn my hands upon the little ones." Many have become too big for God to handle them. Those that have become "heady, high-minded, proud, boasters, lovers of themselves more than God," are too big for God to lead them. Such as these are included in the two parts cut off, and the little ones are those who are brought through the fire of persecution, standing for truth.
There are some honest souls today who do not know, and who have not seen the things I have written about in this booklet. Some know things are wrong, but do not know what it is all about. I pray God the eyes of many will be opened…that they may see the abominable things, which are causing God to spew many out of his mouth.
God has a few who are true to God and souls, and these he can trust to "awaken His sword," expose sin and deception and lift the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ high, so as to "establish the mountain of the Lord's house in the top of the mountains."
The Laodicean church age is the last age symbolized in the gospel day. It brings us to the end or second coming of the Lord Jesus. I am fully persuaded by the signs of the times that the "fig tree is budding." What we do, we must do quickly, for soon "time shall be no more." The Revelation tells us "there will be no more going out." The next move will be going up. "He that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Father's throne." The next move for the people of God will be heaven. Thank God! "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." "But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev. 21:4, 8. This will be the end of all timely things and the final separation of saint and sinner. In reality the separation is being made now. We make the choice of the group and place where we will be in our long ETERNITY. Amen and amen.
God has a true people today who are striving with all their hearts to overcome all the effects of this lukewarm age, and who accept new light as fast as it comes and refuse these deceptions as fast as they are exposed. God does not want his people to support with money or influence ANY THING THAT IS WRONG. Some support the wrong because there is some good in it. That is not holiness in principle. "Come out of her, my people," be separate, and be one of that number without spot or wrinkle. From the housetop shout aloud, "This is the way, walk ye in it." [ The End ]