SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION

In the Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:3-30, Jesus gave the disciples the signs of the end of the age prior to His coming to rapture His church and pour out His wrath with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements on unrepentant peoples still on earth.

Jesus also gave John in Revelation confirmation of these signs of the end of the age and confirmation of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27) specifically the last week of years, the last seven years prior to Jesus return.

Revelation provides us with great detail on what God has ordained to happen in those last seven years to prepare and in fact refine His church during this time.

The letters to the seven churches describe the church in each of those last seven years before Jesus returns first to rapture the Saints and then return to earth with the Saints to conquer the Antichrist and destroy his army (Armageddon).

EPHESUS REPRESENTS THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE LAST SEVEN YEARS

The church in Ephesus represents the church when the first seal is removed. The church has laboured, rejected evil, and has endured for Christ’s sake, but has lost its first love and zeal. The love of worshipers has waxed cold, and every worshiper is a lover of himself. God’s agenda was paramount in the past, but now it means nothing (Revelation 2:1-7).

SMYRNA REPRESENTS THE CHURCH IN THE SECOND YEAR

The church in Smyrna, which can also be called the “suffering” or the persecuted church, represents the church in year two after the second seal is broken. The church is poor in the sight of men but rich in the sight of God. It is surprising to note that Jesus did not give them hope of deliverance from persecutions and attacks but encouraged them to stand firm because more attacks were imminent. He only promised them the crown of life when He returns (Revelation 2:8-11). The present-day persecuted churches should be strengthened by this message and should stop fearing those who can only kill the body but fear the one that can kill body and soul.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28

PERGAMUM REPRESENTS THE CHURCH IN THE THIRD YEAR

The church in Pergamum in the third year of the last seven years will be an underground church living at a time when it is forbidden to mention the name of Christ. They are still standing even when many of the worshipers have been killed for the sake of the Gospel. Nevertheless, Jesus found the church wanting because they allowed the doctrines of Balaam and Nicolaitan in their midst. Churches that release curses during prayers, practice idolatry and immorality, belong to this group. Christ is warning all churches that do these things to stop such activities or face the consequences (Revelation 2:12-17).

THYATIRA REPRESENTS THE CHURCH IN THE FOURTH YEAR

The message to the church in Thyatira is a message to some prophetic churches that are doing well but have been infiltrated by unbelievers. The Jezebel spirit and soothsayers in their midst seduce worshipers to commit fornication and idolatry. Christ is warning all of the churches that belong to this class of their coming damnation if they do not repent (Revelation 2:18-29).

SARDIS REPRESENTS THE CHURCH IN THE FIFTH YEAR

Jesus enjoined the church in Sardis, which is the umbrella of compromised and dead churches that are at the brink of annihilation, to be watchful and strong. It is important to note that in these churches there are a few faithful ones who have not defiled their garments. Jesus warned worshipers in such churches that He would remove their names from the Book of Life if they do not repent. What a tragedy it will be for Christians who will not endure to the end (Revelation 3:1-6).

PHILADELPHIA REPRESENTS THE CHURCH THAT IS RAPTURED

Christ commended the church in Philadelphia for their steadfastness in upholding the Word of God irrespective of their little strength. They have no financial or numerical strength, but they are faithful in all their endeavours. This is the church that will be raptured at the trumpet blast at the opening of the seventh seal. Jesus tells them “Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth” Revelation 3:10.

LAODICEA REPRESENTS THE CHURCH LEFT BEHIND TO FACE THE WRATH OF GOD

The Laodicea church is the church that is left behind. Sadly, it is the denomination to which many churches aspire to belong to. Members of this group are popular and prosperous but are neither cold nor hot in their service to God. They have numerical strength, are self-sufficient, and boast about their wealth and fame. But Jesus judged these churches to be wretched, miserable, poor, and blind and enjoined them to come and get the true riches from Him. Even though they will experience the wrath of God, Jesus still calls them to repentance. They still have an opportunity to come into the Kingdom of God but they will experience the time God pours out His wrath upon the earth with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. I believe the period will be one year and ten days, the exact time God poured out His wrath upon the earth in Noah’s day.

CONNECTION BETWEEN THE SEVEN SEALS AND SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION

In Revelation, the seven seals tells us what unfolds in each of the seven years prior to Jesus returning to this earth to rule and reign during the Millennium. Also, I believe that what Jesus tells us about each of the seven churches reveals to us the actions and state of the church in each of the last seven years prior to His return and it correlates to the events of the seven seals. It also reveals which church is protected from the wrath of God (Raptured) and which church is left behind to fact the wrath of God, thereby revealing the timing of the Rapture. Read for yourself and see how it fits so well. For more detail please check out Nelson Walters book: Revelation Deciphered

32330481. sx318

In the first year when the first seal is opened the Antichrist comes on the scene (rider on white horse).

The Church at that time in the first year (Ephesus): The church is doing some good things but “you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7

In the second year when the second seal is opened, the Antichrist is permitted to take peace from the earth and people slay one another (rider on red horse).

The church at that time (Smyrna): “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be testedRevelation 2:10

In the third year when the third seal is opened, famine comes over the earth (rider on black horse).

The church at that time (Pergamum): “you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans (eat food sacrificed to idols (take the Mark of the Beast in order to get food?) and practice sexual immorality). Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:15-17

In the fourth year when the fourth seal is opened a fourth of the earth is destroyed with the sword, famine and pestilence (rider’s name Death on pale horse).

The church at that time (Thyatira) “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols… those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.Revelation 2:19-20, 22-23

In the fifth year when the fifth seal is opened, John sees under the altar the souls of the martyrs (not yet resurrected) that have come out of the great tribulation and they are told to wait awhile longer until their numbers a complete – more Christians to be martyred on earth. The Rapture has not occurred at the fifth seal so a Pretribulation Rapture is not possible.

The church at that time (Sardis). “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.Revelation 3:2-4

In the sixth year when the sixth seal is opened. John sees the signs in the sky which immediately precede Jesus coming to rapture the Saints and to pour out His wrath upon an unrepentant earth. “I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale… Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?

The church at that time (Philadelphia) ““‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name... Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.

The Philadelphian church obviously represents the church that is raptured.

At the start of the seventh year when the seventh seal is opened there is silence in heaven for about a half an hour. Just prior to the seventh seal being opened or at the same time there is a trumpet blast and the dead in Christ are raised first and then the Saints alive on earth are taken up to meet Jesus in the clouds.

The church at that time (Laodicea): We are given a picture of the church which is left behind: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.Revelation 3:15-17 Whilst they are left behind and will be recipients of the wrath of God, Jesus still says to the church at Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” They are still able to repent and be saved but will experience the wrath of God.

The wrath of God will last for 1 year and ten days (to do with the Jewish year and timing of the Festivals). During the days of Noah the wrath of God was also poured out for 1 year and ten days so the events of the “end times” will be like the days of Noah for a number of reasons just as Jesus told us it would be.