Revelation chapters 1-3
We update studies as the Lord Jesus leads us. You can find the latest update of this study at ChurchAges.net
Truth was buried in the Dark Ages. Restoration began with the reformers, until William Branham revealed the final mysteries.
- Wheat and tares will grow together for 7 church ages
- Move away from the centre is EVIL and must be reversed
- Numbers 7 and 12 involve both the church and the Jews
- No record of a church in Thyatira before AD 100
- Church Age 1 began in AD 33 on the day of Pentecost
- Church Age 2 sees elevation of a Bishop as church head
- Church Age 3 sees Trinity and Good Friday kill Truth
- Church Age 4 is the Middle Age where Truth died
- Church Age 5 restored salvation by faith alone in Jesus
- Church Age 6 restored holiness and missionary work
- In church Age 7 the wise and foolish virgins separate
- Being restored back to the first church age
Wheat and tares will grow together for 7 church ages
The Book of Revelation is full of symbols that describe the history of 2000 years of the seven church ages.
The first three Chapters of Revelation involve seven candlesticks.
What does this teach us?
It is as if the church of the New Testament was "good seed" of Bible truth that was planted by the original Apostles. Then Christians became complacently asleep in a spiritual sense and error crept in because they did not insist on being strictly Scriptural.
The seed of Truth was buried in the Dark Age of Europe’s history and then germinated back to life in the Reformation of Martin Luther. The reformers formed the first blades and shoots. The church slowly struggled to get back closer to the original New Testament beliefs of the apostles.
In the end, the plant will produce seed that is identical to the seed that was first planted.
But this move was always opposed by other spirits in the church that focused on human leadership, unscriptural doctrines, political involvement, big-money, and pagan influences.
This clash of spirits occurred within church circles and will continue to the end.
MATTHEW 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
At first sight, it seemed that the church burned equally brightly in all seven church ages.
But there were wheat and tares present.
Therefore the church light was and is a mixture of truth and error. There were two vines in the church.
So if we carefully consider what Bible truth was in the church in each age, and separate that from the human traditions and deceptions, then the true light in each age looks more like this:
Let us consider the symbol of the seven-branched candlestick mentioned in the first three chapters of Revelation. The first church age will be the central lampstand with the biggest flame.
REVELATION 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
So dominant was Jesus that no other man was seen. Like the stars not shining in the presence of the sun.
The great apostle John fell down as if dead.
The apostle John falling down showed just how insignificant even the greatest man is compared to Jesus.
Because Jesus is the Word and the full truth which is represented by the central candlestick.
We are warned. Never try to put any man in the place of Jesus.
REVELATION 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
In nature, the seed that is planted at first is identical to the seed that is harvested at the last.
So the main importance is the first and last church ages. Thus the last church age must be identical to the first church age.
Move away from the centre is EVIL and must be reversed
We cannot improve on the teachings of Paul and the apostles. The New Testament is the way God wants the church to be.
As we get further away from the central lampstand, we are getting further away from the apostolic truth and into the Dark Ages.
Moving away from the beliefs of the first church age can be described as EVIL.
This is described by the four churches in Revelation Chapter 2.
If we reverse the direction, and move towards the first church age, then when EVIL is reversed it becomes LIVE.
The Revelation Chapter 3 deals with the restoration of the truth from the Dark Ages.
Martin Luther in Germany restored salvation by faith in Jesus alone.
John Wesley in England restored holiness and outreach which led to the missionary age.
Pentecost restored the gifts of the Holy Spirit and William Branham in America revealed the mysteries of Scripture to restore our understanding of Bible truths so that we could believe what the first church age believed.
The last church age is when the Bride has enough light from their oil lamps in order to read and understand Scripture.
Numbers 7 and 12 involve both the church and the Jews
The seven candlesticks in Revelation reflect the seven-branched candlestick that was in the Holy Place in the Jewish tabernacle. It was together with the table of shewbread that held 12 loaves.
The vessels in the tabernacle formed a cross.
Thus they were reflecting events that will occur in the New Testament when the seven church ages unfold over 2000 years.
Notice the two key numbers 7 and 12.
Jesus is the Head of the church and saved people form His spiritual Body.
EPHESIANS 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:
The head is connected to the body by means of the backbone.
The first 7 vertebrae form the neck.
The next 12 vertebrae hold the ribs.
Jesus referred to these two numbers from two of His greatest miracles.
Feeding thousands of Jews from a schoolboy’s lunch of bread and fish.
MATTHEW 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Jesus wants us to understand something. The important issue is not the thousands that were fed but rather how many baskets of rejected scraps were picked up by the disciples.
MATTHEW 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
The number of baskets of rejected scraps of bread and meat were 12 and 7.
What must we understand about the rejected scraps that were collected?
Bread and meat represent doctrine.
The Jews would reject Messiah and the doctrines that He preached as unwanted scraps. The disciples would pick up the rejected Gospel and make sure that they took these New Testament doctrines out to the Gentiles who would come in during the future seven church ages. Only the apostolic doctrines of the New Testament are valid as doctrines to feed the souls of future Christians.
The New Testament is the light of the world, represented by the 7-branched candlestick. The New Testament, which is based on the Old Testament, would be the light to guide the church through the totally different conditions of the seven church ages. When the church from 7 ages is resurrected and leaves this world as they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, then the Gospel will go to the Jews, the 12 tribes of Israel, during great Tribulation. The Jews will finally receive, from their two prophets, the scraps of New Testament doctrine that their ancestors rejected 2000 years ago.
Jesus had a three and a half year ministry to the Jews. Then the Jews rejected Him. God turned from the Jews to the Gentiles during the 7 church ages. The Holy Ghost came down on the day of Pentecost to guide the church through 7 church ages and will leave the earth when the Holy Spirit catches the church up to meet the Lord in the air. Then God turns back to the Jews during the final three and a half years of great Tribulation.
The 12 tribes of Israel are represented by the 12 loaves of shewbread.
I CHRONICLES 9:32 And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath.
The shewbread lasted 7 days, before 12 new shewbread loaves were baked to replace the old loaves on the next Sabbath.
The old loaves were eaten by the priests in the Holy Place. The shewbread had to stay in the Holy Place.
These 12 loaves symbolize the 144000 from the 12 tribes of Israel, at the end of the 7 church ages (symbolized by the end of the 7-day week), who have to be back in their Promised Land (symbolized by the Holy Place) to meet Messiah.
We have seen the Jews returning to Israel for the last century or so. The stage is being prepared for the return of Messiah to Jerusalem. The 12 tribes of Israel are returning to the Promised Land at the end of the 7 church ages.
12 and 7 thus reveal a deeper meaning, a definite pattern in God's plan.
No record of a church in Thyatira before AD 100
According to some historians, there was no church in the city of Thyatira by the time John the Revelator died about the year AD 100. That church only came into existence later.
So John’s letters were not just describing events in these local churches.
But also referring to future events.
There was also no “Balaam” nor “Jezebel” in these early churches.
These names refer back to periods in Jewish history when false leaders were raised up to oppose God’s men of those time periods, who were Moses and Elijah, respectively. Significantly, they are also the names of the two witnesses who will return to Israel in the 3.5 years of great Tribulation (Revelation Chapter 11) to turn the 144000 Jews to Messiah.
The church of Thyatira did not form in the days of the apostles but formed soon after.
This symbolized that the fourth church age of Thyatira, the Dark Age, was the furthest that the church backslid away from the teachings and influence of the apostles.
REVELATION 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
John would tell us some things about the first church age that he lived in. Then John would see future revelations about the church ages and then the Jews being restored in great Tribulation.
Thus the “mystery of the seven churches” means that each of the existing six churches and the soon-to-be-formed church of Thyatira had within them the characteristics of a future age that the Christian church would go through.
God wanted to push His church through seven very different sets of circumstances.
In the end, God would be able to claim that whatever adverse conditions existed, and however Satan attacked the church in fiendishly different ways, there would always be those who are able to overcome. Their testimony would prove the falseness of those people who would claim that their circumstances were too tough for them to survive as Christians, which is why they abandoned the faith.
Jesus can help everybody through their particular fiery furnace if they are not prepared to bow down to what is false and unscriptural, despite severe and intense pressure to do so.
God’s rule is simple, as it was to the three Jews in the fiery furnace in early Babylon: If you refuse to bow, God will refuse to let you burn.
Church Age 1 began in AD 33 on the day of Pentecost
Around AD 100 the last apostle, John, died and ambitious human leaders began to rise in the church.
Ephesus means aimed at and relaxed.
Little unscriptural errors began to creep in. One-man leadership of the church began to creep in.
People, feeling complacent, did not care about small mistakes but the trickle of error would grow into a flood in later ages.
This first church age ended during the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) when Christians were persecuted. The second church age would see much persecution of the Christians.
Approximately 3 million Christians were killed by the Roman empire from the persecution of Nero starting in AD 64 and ending in AD 312 with the persecution started by emperor Diocletian. Most of these deaths happened in the second church age from about AD 170 to AD 312.
The first church age was built on the New Testament and the doctrines of the apostles. The Word of God was their Absolute. A group of elders ruled each local church. The only name that believers had was “Christian”. There were no denominations while the apostles lived.
ACTS 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
ACTS 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Paul set up the local elders to run the local church at Ephesus.
Paul did not put a pastor in charge of the church at Ephesus.
57-0908 HEBREWS CHAPTER FIVE AND SIX.1
Show me by the Bible what's greater, in the Bible, than a local elder to a local church? That's right, yes, sir, the sovereignty of the local church, each church in itself.
When John was caught up to Heaven he saw the throne of God surrounded by 24 elders. Not pastors.
ACTS 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Ambitious leaders, ruthless to seize power and money, would dominate the church in later days.
ACTS 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
New Testament Christianity would degenerate into denominational Churchianity under a one-person ruler or boss who demands that people follow what he or she says. This would be the big failure of the future church.
The motto of one-man church leaders is: "Everyone is entitled to my opinion". A recipe for disaster.
AN EXPOSITION OF THE 7 CHURCH AGES. CHAPTER 9. LAODICEAN CHURCH AGE
Now in every case you will notice that a false prophet is one who is outside the Word. Just as we showed you that 'antichrist' means 'anti-Word' so these false prophets come perverting the Word, giving it a meaning that fits their own devilish ends. Have you ever noticed how the people who lead others astray bind them closely to themselves by fear? They say that if the people don't do what they say, or if they leave, then destruction will follow. They are false prophets, for a true prophet will always lead one to the Word and bind the people to Jesus Christ and he won't tell the people to fear him or what he says, but to fear what the Word says. Notice how these people like Judas are out for money.
The first church age became the pattern of what the church should be like in all ages.
The apostles never got involved in politics.
The murderous Nero was emperor in Paul’s day. Paul could have had a great time listing Nero’s faults but Paul just said that we must pray for the leaders.
Paul always boosted Christ as the fullness of the Godhead.
COLOSSIANS 2:9 For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Nero would die, so Paul ignored him, but Jesus would remain so Paul uplifted Him.
This candlestick represents the first church age of the New Testament. Our best example of a Christian church.
The New Testament church is the model church that we should be restored back to.
Church Age 2 sees elevation of a Bishop as church head
As time moved on human leadership introduced error as different deviations from Scripture began. Men began to call themselves by new unscriptural titles like “the bishop of Antioch”.
PHILIPPIANS 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
There were many bishops in the city of Philippi.
The early church never had a bishop of a city.
A bishop is simply an alternative title for an elder.
57-0908 HEBREWS CHAPTER FIVE AND SIX.1
Show me by the Bible what's greater, in the Bible, than a local elder to a local church?
That's right, yes, sir, the sovereignty of the local church, each church in itself.
The local elders rule each local church.
AN EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN CHURCH AGES. PERGAMOS. NICOLAITANES.
Now this doctrine actually started as a deed in the first age. It appears that the problem lay in two words: 'elders' (presbyters) and 'overseers' (bishops). Though Scripture shows that there are several elders in each church, some began (Ignatius [from Antioch] among them) to teach that the idea of a bishop was one of preeminence or authority and control over the elders.
[No man has any control over the elders of a local church].
Now the truth of the matter is the word 'elder' signifies who the person is, while the word 'bishop' signifies the office of the same man. The elder is the man. Bishop is the office of the man. 'Elder' always has and always will refer simply to a man's chronological age in the Lord. He is an elder, not because he is elected or ordained, etc., but because he IS OLDER. He is more seasoned, trained, not a novice, reliable because of experience and long standing proof of his Christian experience.
But no, the bishops did not stick to the epistles of Paul, but rather they went to Paul's account of the time he called the elders from Ephesus to Miletus in Acts 20. In verse 17 the record states, "elders" were called and then in verse 28 they are called overseers (bishops). And these bishops, (no doubt political-minded and anxious for power) insisted that Paul had given the meaning that 'overseers' were more than the local elder with official capacity only in his own church.
To them a bishop was now one with extended authority over many local leaders.
Such a concept was neither Scriptural nor historical, yet even a man of the stature of Polycarp leaned toward such organization.
Elders had ruled the early church that were usually small local groups.
The word “pastor” is only mentioned once in the New Testament but condemned prophetically six times in the Book of Jeremiah. There is no Scriptural authority for a pastor to be the head of the church. (Especially since there are 45000 different types of churches today, headed by tens of thousands of pastors with different beliefs. A real spiritual swamp).
As time passed, the church began to drift away from strict New Testament standards. Religious deception was creeping in. Jesus had warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you” in Matthew 24:4, but people preferred human wisdom instead of Scripture.
Smyrna means bitterness and death. Persecution and poverty stopped the church from straying too far. God commended this church age.
An unpalatable truth is that persecution and poverty are good for the church.
The church looked like it was still shining bright but some of that light was just human wisdom caused by human leaders thinking up their own ideas.
Jesus and John the Baptist were not polite when they addressed the Jewish religious leaders as these leaders were leading the Jews astray. The Jewish religious leaders were called hypocrites and poisonous snakes.
What would they say to our present church leaders?
Human leaders in this second church age were starting to mislead the churches and, sadly, the truth was shrinking.
So the second church age looked like this, in terms of truth, as the flame of Bible truth was shrinking.
Church Age 3 sees Trinity and Good Friday kill Truth
The Council of Nicaea in AD 325 put the official church under the domination of a ruthless political tyrant, the emperor Constantine.
He had stopped persecuting the Christians in AD 312 and the grateful Christians now accepted this murderous semi-pagan politician as the head of the church. An awful mistake.
The Bishop of Rome was given vast wealth and the beautiful Lateran Palace by the emperor to make sure he obeyed the emperor. Because the Bishop of Rome was backed by the Roman emperor Constantine, this Bishop ambitiously then wanted influence and control over other cities. Rome had been the capital of the empire so the Bishop of Rome felt that he was more important than the Bishops of other cities.
Unscriptural words like Trinity, Good Friday, Christmas, and Pope became the focus of the church. Political involvement entered the church and pagans were persecuted. Eventually, Christians who disagreed with the Roman Catholic church were also persecuted.
Pagan traditions were dressed up in Bible terms.
Christmas on a made-up date of 25 December that copied the birthday of the Roman sun god, was declared around AD 350 to be a church festival by Julius I, the Bishop of Rome.
The Bible never asked us to remember the birth of Jesus.
Spreading this unscriptural Christmas as a major church doctrine and festival around the world helped to establish the authority of Rome over other churches.
The Roman bishop invented Christmas. Thus all the churches that accepted Christmas fell under the influence of Rome. Rome made the laws of Christmas.
According to Rome, it must be a big festival on a pagan day in midwinter. Thus shepherds could not be in the fields at night as winter is far too cold outside. This was an outright denial of Scripture. They claimed the wise men went to the stable which was another denial of Scripture. This gave them the excuse to introduce presents and a star. A star must obviously be up in the air so the decorated pagan “Christmas tree” was adopted.
The wise men actually went to a house and saw a young Child, not a baby.
MATTHEW 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
The Jews went astray when they introduced the star of their god.
AMOS 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
The pagans worshiped a star god. Except for Venus the evening and morning star, Saturn was the next brightest star to be worshiped. They did not know it was a planet in those days.
That is why they claimed the wise men followed the star to the stable. The star had nothing to do with the stable when Jesus was born. The wise men only got there two years later. But the pagan star was part of the mid-winter festivals in December.
JEREMIAH 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven [signs of the Zodiac]; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
A cut-down and decorated tree and a star on the top of it were standard pagan mid-winter symbols. The word Yule in the Chaldean (or Babylonian) language means child. From them we got Yuletide. Thus mid-winter had to be the time of the birth of Jesus to keep the pagans happy.
Picking the date 25 December according to the new Roman calendar, which had been changed in 45 BC by the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, gave this Roman calendar authority over other nations. To keep the made-up Roman Catholic laws of Christmas, the people had to adopt the new Roman calendar. This gave Rome even more authority over other people.
DANIEL 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws:
Eventually, Pope Gregory 13 would finalize the changes to the calendar. Now the whole world basically uses these changes that make the times of the Roman calendar fit in exactly with the seasons of the year. The pagan Roman Caesar and the Roman Pope Gregory 13 combined to produce the best calendar. This extended the authority of the Pope over church festivals.
GALATIANS 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Annual church festivals are to be avoided. There are no special days for annual festivals.
Paul complained of their bondage to days (25th) months (December) times (Christmas time) years (every year).
By means of these clever and popular festivals, that were based on paganism, believers got taken away from the Bible to follow the laws of the Roman Catholic church. A bad mistake.
Rome changed the calendar by which we measure time.
Rome introduced the laws of the Christmas festival as well as the Ishtar eggs and Ishtar bunnies for the spring festival or sex orgy in March-April. Nine months after mid-April, babies would be born in mid-December, Yule time, or the time of the child.
Nimrod was killed and his wife Semiramis, claiming to be Ishtar the queen of heaven, took part in the mid-April spring festival orgy so that her son Tammuz was born in mid-December. She claimed that this child was the resurrection of her dead husband Nimrod. A tree, if cut down, usually grows again. The cut-down “Christmas” tree thus symbolized Nimrod being killed and the decorations on the tree symbolized Tammuz being born as the “resurrection” of Nimrod.
A round bun represented Semiramis or Ishtar as the moon or queen of heaven. (The source of Mary worship). A "T" on the bun was the initial for her son Tammuz who would be born 9 months later. This was the source or inspiration of our hot cross buns.
This third church age saw the spirit of paganism infiltrate the church, using Bible words for pagan practices. Ishtar became Easter.
Hugh Hefner corrupted millions of Americans with his Playboy magazine and bunny girls. Why did he dress the immoral women in bunny outfits? What does this tell us about the source of Easter bunnies? Bunnies are the fastest breeders. Ishtar bunnies involved an immoral orgy which became known as Easter bunnies. Ishtar eggs symbolized male testicles which became Easter eggs.
Again Rome dragged us into the orbit of her wrong dates.
The Pope declared that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon. Everybody obeys Rome without even thinking.
MATTHEW 12: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
To be buried for three nights means that Jesus died on Thursday afternoon. He was in the tomb for Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. Then he rose on Sunday morning.
If Jesus died on a Friday then He was only in the tomb for two nights, Friday night and Saturday night. That contradicts Scripture but nobody minds contradicting Scripture as long as they obey the Pope.
The Passover lamb was publically chosen on the 10th day and taken to the person's house and killed on the 14th day.
EXODUS 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
EXODUS 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Jesus was publically chosen as King by the Jews on Palm Sunday, which was the 10th day of the month.
The 14th day would then be Thursday when He was killed.
"Good Friday" is a Roman Catholic invention, not found in Scripture.
This Good Friday date was established at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. This date gave preeminence to the Roman Bishop because it had first been proposed by a Roman Bishop in order to establish his authority over other churches.
Around AD 195, trying to gain supremacy over the other churches, Pope Victor 1 said that the Easter celebration of Calvary must not happen on the full moon as happened in the Exodus Passover but must be held on a Friday. This became known as the unscriptural “Good Friday.”
The 15th day was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. This was a High Day or special Sabbath.
Thus the High Day of Friday 15th was a Sabbath day.
Denomination is an unscriptural word that was taking over the church world.
Constantine showered political authority, money, and buildings on the church.
Thus the church listened to him, not the Bible.
Pergamos means thoroughly married. The church was married to paganism, worldliness, wealth, and politics.
At the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, the Trinity was forced onto the churches. For the first time, an unscriptural word "Trinity" had become regarded as a true doctrine. The church shone brightly with human opinions like the Trinity, which they argued about for centuries until they convinced almost everybody. God lost His name and they were reduced to baptizing in three titles instead of a name. They talk about the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost but cannot tell you what that name is. You cannot find one name for three People.
But Trinity is an unscriptural word.
Thus the third church age looked like the above candlestick, in terms of truth.
Trinity was the first time that they made an unscriptural word an official doctrine. Today they use that as an excuse for any other unscriptural word. Their argument is:
"If Trinity is unscriptural and it is the truth, then any other unscriptural word like Christmas (for example) or Good Friday or Easter Monday must also be the truth, despite being unscriptural".
Thus unscriptural doctrine spreads like a virus.
REVELATION 13:2 ... and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
The Roman emperor Constantine gave the Lateran Palace to the Roman bishop and it still remains the official seat of the Roman Catholic church which the popes claim to be the seat of Saint Peter.
Church Age 4 is the Middle Age where Truth died
With the backing of the emperor, the Roman bishop would soon claim power over the other churches. Then he became Pope around AD 400. In AD 382, Damasus the Bishop of Rome accepted the title of Pontifex Maximus (Pontif) as High Priest of the Babylonian mysteries which gave him great authority over the pagan tribes that invaded and destroyed the Roman empire.
A massive church hierarchy with unscriptural titles would grow to dominate the Dark Ages where the Bible was in Latin and not read by ordinary people.
People were often killed just for owning a Bible or for disagreeing with the Roman Catholic church.
Murdering heretics who disagreed with the Pope was regarded as normal.
This was the church age of Thyatira, which means a dominating woman. A woman symbolizes a church.
Her history is described in Revelation Chapter 17.
The awful Borgia popes represented a pit of depravity as truth was buried under dirt.
Political power, church laws, and human greed dominated the church.
The official Roman church dominated Europe and truth died before the onslaught of unscriptural church traditions and doctrines. True believers had to flee to wilderness areas. The Waldenses started in the city of Lyons but had to hide from the murderous Catholic armies in the mountains of the Alps that formed a protective wilderness for them. The Rhine and Rhone rivers are shown on the next map.
Pope, Cardinal, Metropolitan, Archbishop, and Archdeacon are all unscriptural titles but that is what ruled the church.
The church was brightly illuminated with cunning human doctrines and philosophies and money-making projects.
But in terms of Bible truth, this is how the fourth church age looked:
Chapter 2 of the Book of Revelation lists four churches.
They represent the first four church ages. Four is in the middle of seven. So the fourth church age is known as the Middle Age or Dark Age, when the church ruled Europe.
The truth had steadily declined from the apostolic age to the brutal and superstitious dark age of Churchianity which had effectively replaced Christianity. Human traditions and church doctrines had moved away from the Bible truths of the New Testament.
The fourth lamp had little Bible truth compared to the first lamp.
The first four church ages had one thing in common, a movement away from the New Testament church.
Church Age 5 restored salvation by faith alone in Jesus
Chapter 3 of the Book of Revelations mentions three church ages where the opposite happened.
Reformers were trying to move the church back closer to the Bible beliefs of the first church age of the apostles.
The Reformation made a new start from the other side of the candlestick.
There was still much ignorance in the church but a new desire had been awakened to start getting back to the doctrines of the Apostles in the New Testament.
Then brave Martin Luther in Germany defied the murderous church system and the reformers of this age were the first leaves shooting up as the seed Word of God began to germinate. The reformers restored salvation by faith in Christ and not by works. Then Satan fought back and soon politics and violence re-entered the church. But a beginning had been made to get back to what the early apostles taught. The church age of Sardis, the escaped ones.
When the Reformation started, Luther stood out like a solitary light in the darkness. Saved by faith alone. Soon he was joined by other reformers.
The 5th church age looked like the above candlestick as Luther and the reformers had moved to the other side of the lampstand to start a new movement. He wanted to restore the apostolic doctrine of salvation in Christ alone. He did not want to use good works as the key to salvation to move further away from the New Testament Scriptures.
The King James Version of the Bible was born in 1611 to give the Scripture in English and checked and re-checked for over 150 years to be finalized in 1769. Then It formed the backbone of the golden missionary age.
Church Age 6 restored holiness and missionary work
Then John Wesley in England, abstaining from preaching politics and rejecting violence, restored holiness and outreach which laid the foundation for the great open door of the missionary age, where the life-giving pollen of the Word of God was carried around the world. This was the golden church age of Philadelphia, brotherly love.
The truth of Scripture was getting stronger so the sixth church age looked like the above candlestick.
In church Age 7 the wise and foolish virgins separate
This present age of the church of the Laodiceans (notice they make up their own church) is the last church age.
We are supposed to become just like the early apostolic church of the New Testament.
The Pentecostal outpouring in Wales in 1904 and at the unknown downtown 312 Azusa street building in Los Angeles in 1906, restored the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. The church was on track to being restored to the beliefs of the apostolic church of the New Testament. This was the husk that protects the seed. But sadly by 1917 Pentecost was denominating into factions just like the other churches had done.
God did not just want a restoration of the Holy Spirit power, He also wanted a full restoration of the Bible truth.
JOHN 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Today the seed, which is the Word of God, has to ripen in the revealed truth of Scripture.
The final seed that a plant produces is identical to the original seed that was planted. There is no difference.
If the 7th age produces a different seed to the first age, then the 7th age church is a man-made modified hybrid.
God wants every seed to bring forth of its own kind. God never ordained a hybrid seed.
But church-goers prefer church loyalty to Bible truth. Each person only believes what his or her church preaches. They learn to reject any revealed truth that is different from what their specific church teaches.
This is how the seventh church looks as it is locked in man-made commandments and doctrines and thus cannot discover the full truth of Scripture.
The church has come a long way from the Dark Age but is still not back to the beliefs of the original apostles.
Listen to church preachers tell you about the mistakes, contradictions, myths, and faulty translations in the King James Version of the Bible. Thus they have no Absolute to focus their attention on.
So in the last church age of Laodicea (people’s rights) the church has lost direction.
They got richer and more materialistic instead of more Biblical.
In the end, if the 7th church age refused to return back to the beliefs of the New Testament then they would get lost in all the variations of opinions and reject the revealed end-time truths. Thus they would be unable to prove many of their beliefs from Scripture. The amount of Bible truth in the 7th church age would shrink relative to the amount of revealed light that is available at the end-time for the few who insist on returning to the beliefs of the early church.
This is how the seventh church should look as it no longer seeks to be restored in both Spirit and Truth, to the New Testament church. The King James Bible is either rejected or it is criticized.
Human opinions and quotes replace Scripture.
Today there are 45000 different kinds of denominational and non-denominational churches. That represents a wide spectrum of different beliefs.
Today’s church world can get people saved (which is very good) and teach them many good truths about the Holy Spirit and how to live a good life. But then the church proceeds to lose direction, starting with the water baptism, in a money-driven age of competitive Christianity that has many unscriptural traditions and doctrines (which is bad). This mixture of good and bad makes the church lukewarm. As such, they are keen to reject the end-time revelations of Scripture.
By believing in a seven-year Tribulation the churches mess up the Book of Revelation. Scriptures that refer to the activities of many antichrist spirits during the church ages are put into great Tribulation.
Thus Jesus stands outside the door of the church.
REVELATION 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
REVELATION 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
The end-time church rejects Jesus, the written Word of God. They are happy to restore the Spirit of God but not the Truth of revealed Scripture.
Being restored back to the first church age
Thus the restoration of Spirit and Truth, back to the example of the New Testament church, since the Reformation that started in 1520 looks like this:
Thus looking at the full candlestick, in terms of the light of the Bible truth, reveals two trends.
The central lampstand was the first church age.
Church ages 1 to 4 revealed a movement away from Scripture to the right.
Church ages 5 to 7 reveal a movement back to Scripture, on the left, that will only end when the last church is just like the first church.
Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, must agree.
Please note that there is great depth in the symbols of Revelation.
The many symbols in the Book of Revelation cover the history of the church plus the events leading up to the Coming of the Lord and then the 3.5 years of great Tribulation that sets in as the Gospel returns to the Jews. Then comes the titanic battle of Armageddon and the 1000 years of peace before the new Heaven and the new earth set in.
There will be no more sea.
REVELATION 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
The sea will explode and totally destroy the surface of the earth and burn up all the orbiting satellites. There will be no trace left of all our technological and scientific “marvels” that did great things but also caused much damage and produced huge imbalances. The final unsustainable fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Eternity must be built on a much better foundation, which is Jesus Christ. He somehow will combine both Heaven and earth for the welfare and benefit of all those who became born again of both Spirit and Truth.