There are two interpretations of the letters to the seven churches – the first, and best known, is that these are the seven church ages. B. H. Carroll, the Southern Baptist commentator, had vigorously opposed this view. Being a Baptist Brider, Carroll had protested ANYTHING that even remotely resembled a universal church. He insisted the seven churches are typical of churches in EVERY age. And He’s right. As he points out, “In any town in Texas, you can find any or all of these seven churches.”
It’s also very possible these are synonymous with Christians everywhere. If you feel the Lord speaking to you as you read this, heed it.
David Cloud’s opinion is that their are four interpretations to the seven churches:
- The seven church ages
- The seven types of churches
- the seven types of Christians
- and is information given to instruct the seven churches
I’m not going to give too much of David Cloud’s interpretation in these two blog posts, because Mr. Cloud has spent a GREAT deal of time in his studies. That material he gives away I’ll quote from extensively, but the materials he charges a few dollars for, I quote a little and that’s it – becuase the Bible says Mr. Cloud has the right to do this, to supplant his income – which isn’t much. The laborer is worthy of his hire, and you shall not muzzle the ox as he treadeth out the grain, and an elder who ruleth well is worthy of double honor.
1 Unto the angel of 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; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, 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: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:1-7 (KJV)
Ephesus is decried as having left its first love. The Lord warns that He will remove their candlestick unless they repent. What does that mean? What did we learn the seven candlesticks were yesterday?
The seven churches.
Here’s a little known doctrine, taught here. It is possible indeed for a church… to not remain a church any longer. The Lord can take away the candlestick, and the church ceases to be a church. Whether the church dissolves at that time or later on, I am unsure of. But just beacuse it says “First Baptist Church” on the sign out front does not mean it is a duly constituted church before the Lord any longer.
And I think some evidence is in front of our eyes that they cease being churches while still together and having services… have you noticed that as churches begin changing their doctrines and services and cease holding to the bible, the church usually changes its name shortly afterwards to “the Rock” or “Glass House” or “Red Door.”
What’s missing? The word “Church”. Truth in advertising, I would say. And any church contemplating taking the name “Baptist” off their name… should go ahead and do it. Why? I don’t want you representing yourself as a Baptist church when you’re virtually indistinguishable from a non-denominational church! Here’s a hint on that subject – usually non-denominational churches are… Pentacostal. So, why say you’re non-denominational when you’re a Pentecostal church? Or the other reality is, they’ve gone Emergent. To me, Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, “Cowboy”, its all the same – apostasy.
What is the Nicolaitans? That’s greek, Nike Laite – victory over the laity, congregation. It refers to persons who rule over a congregation – brothers, fathers, bishops, cardinals… Popes.
The entire structure used by many Protestant churches is hateful to God. Episcopalism, ruling by bishops, is something Jesus Christ says He hates. I would think that would give you pause! So the entire system of Anglicans, Episcopals, Lutherans and Methodists is a bastardization of the corrupt Roman system.
There is no distinction biblically between the congregation and the pastor, except he is to rule over the congregation humbly, only as the appointed shepherd over the flock placed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you’re taking the historical view, then this would be the first era of Christianity, up until 350 AD or so. If you follow a local church interpretation, then… start asking yourself which of these seven churches is yours?
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:8-11 (KJV)
Smyrna is not rebuked for anything. Instead, they are praised, and commanded to hold on.
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 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. 14 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 stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:12-17 (KJV)
The doctrine of Balaam was sexual immorality. After he was hired by Balak to curse Israel and he couldn’t, Balaam came up with the idea of using Canannite women as a lure to the Israelite men. It also involved the mixing of pagan worship methods in with Godly worship. This church has also adopted the concept of being ruled by bishops. this church apparently is fast sinking into the Roman Catholic system. I think more than ny other, this one church is probably the best argument for the church-age interpretation, as I don’t see Baptist churches in every town adopting a rule by bishops.. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, here.
This is as good a reason as I can see for withdrawing from the world system. I unpligged my TV several years ago, getting rid of two of them. The third is sitting in my attic, and I have no idea if it still works. TV was bad when I unplugged it – I have no doubt it is much, much worse today. Christians are called OUT of the world, not to remain IN it.
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 (KJV)
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:4-10 (KJV)
During the Pergamos era, this is the time of Bishop Gregory becoming in reality Gregory I, first true Pope. He exalted himself and his office. Indeed, Gregory by his actions and words revealed who his true master was…
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV)
18 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 fine brass; 19 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. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:18-29 (KJV)
Our last look at a church today. Obviously, I’m not going very in depth. i’ll do this hopefully in the future, but right now I’ve got deadlines of what I need to write this year, to be done with the bare bones outlining of answering error, heresy and false religion.
Here’s a warning that those that participate in churches that ally with Rome they risk going through the tribulation. Obviously, they can’t be saved if they’re going to go through the tribulation.
Who is that woman Jezebel?
She is said to be a pagan prophetess or priestess who began mixing pagan worship into Christianity – and it was first tolerated, then emulated, then capitulated. Just like the previous Jezebel, the daughter of a pagan king, she brought in Ba’al worship.
In the christian age of Thyratyra, we saw the beginnings of Mary worship. “Mary, Queen of Heaven” is the prophetic Jezebel, the Harlot who sits astride the beast, drinking the blood of the martyrs. As Scripture sometimes typifies a religious system by portraying them as women, we see this as a typification of the Roman Catholic Church, indulging in every blasphemy, and persecuting boldly the saints.
Millions upon millions of Baptists have been burned, starved, beaten, tortured, drowned, branded, whipped, and many other things too gruesome to describe. We look askance at the early kings of Europe and their use of torture devices, forgetting all they did was purchase existing technology, invented by the Roman Catholic church. We know about the Iron maiden, the boot, the rack, and the water funnel. These were used to torture and murder Christians throughout the centuries. Waldenses, Albigenses, Catharists, Donatists and all the other early Baptists died horribly under Rome’s hands. And Rome has the gall today to highlight their “Martyrs” in England in the 17th century, put to death by King James I of Scotland.
They neglect to mention that these Catholic “Martyrs” consipred to assassinate KIng James I by placing gunpowder beneath his throne. Fortunately, they (and their protagonist Guy Fawkes) were discovered, and the plot avoided. What was King James doing that was so terrible? He was commissioning the translation of a new Bible, that would be made available to EVERY MAN WOMAN & CHILD WHO WANTED IT.
The King James bible.
Britan mocks this every year with Guy Fawkes day, and LOTS of fireworks, as if to say, “This is how ineffective it would have been.”
If you’re going to trade in the Son of God for a mortal Jewish woman, good luck with that. She is no co-redemptrix, She is not Queen of Heaven. She has absolutely zero say in who is saved, or in the conduct of anyone’s life. Mary is just a woman. But Jesus Christ is God in Human Flesh.
This is why Christ reminds us in the letter to Thyratyra that He is the Son of God. Mary is not the Mother of God. Jesus is not merely the son of Mary, although she gave birth to Him. He was always God. We need to get that right. There should be exaltation of no man or woman, but God alone, in the persons of the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.
Food for thought. Tomorrow the rest of the seven churches.