Most professing Christians are not even familiar with the term, and have no idea where to look in the Bible for a record of the Seven Ages of the Church. To those who may have a vague idea of what we're speaking of, they feel that the revelation (understanding) of "The Church Ages" is of no great importance in our Christian walk. But is this true? Well, if we believe we are living in the last days then understanding the Seven Church Ages is crucial to our understanding of what God is doing and what He requires of us in our Age. Therefore, Understanding the Church Ages will most definitely help us determine whether we are on the "right" or "wrong" side of the fence. Considering the present condition of the churches and the religious world in general, we need to know where we, as individuals and where the churches stand with God. In the Age in which we live what was/is God's "Message" to the church, and what was/is God's Message to us?
At the end of the first chapter of Revelation, we are introduced to the Seven Church Ages as represented by the Seven Lampstands. These Seven Church Ages make up what is called "the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.13). It is also called "the mystery of God" (Rev.10:7) identified by the Apostle Paul as a period in which the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob blinded the Jews and turned to the Gentiles to call a people - "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom.11:25). The "fullness of the Gentiles" will soon be complete as we are living at the very end of the Seventh Church Age known as the Laodicean Church Age. Then God will turn to Israel and deal with her once again. The Bible shows us that God personally called Abraham and dealt with him at a time when the world was filled with religious darkness. Abraham was "redeemed", so to speak. God made a covenant with Abraham and promised him a "SON". Abraham was to be the Father of many nations, but only through Israel was the oracles of God given.
Letter to the Church in the Ephesian Age
Verse 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; Verse 2: I know thy works, and thy labor, 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:
The Apostle Paul was the angel or messenger to the First Church Age. He was an apostle born out of due season (1 Cor.15:8) and was the founder of the church in Ephesus. A revival fire was started in that city and from there it spread to other cities throughout Asia Minor. That he was the messenger to the first age of the Gentile era cannot be denied. Though to Peter was granted the authority to open the doors to the Gentiles, it was given to Paul to be their apostle and prophet. He was the Prophet/Messenger to the Gentiles. His prophetic office, by which he received the full revelation of the Word for the Gentiles, authenticated him as their apostolic messenger. To this agreed the other apostles at Jerusalem. At the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation, according to tradition, Paul had already died a martyr, but John was carrying on in his stead exactly as Paul had done in the days of his ministry. The death of Paul, before the Revelation was given, does not at all annul the fact that he was the messenger to the Ephesian Church Age, for the messenger to every age, regardless of when he appears or goes, is the one who influences that age for God by means of a Word-manifested ministry. Paul was that man.
When the Church began on the Day of Pentecost it was very stringent in its faith. Tares, if any, were quickly weeded out by the roots so that only the wheat remained (cf. Acts 5). As more converts were added to the Church and as the Gentiles accepted the Gospel, the spirit of antichrist began to work harder. And by the year 53 A.D. the wheat and the tares began to grow side by side together. They were allowed to continue growing together until the closing of the Seventh Church Age at which time the tares would be separated from the wheat (Matt.13:24-30; Acts 20:28-30) and the Bride of Christ perfected for the Rapture. This was the beginning of the First Church Age which lasted for about 120 years. The works and virtues of the believers of every age were known of God. The saints of the first age could not tolerate those who were evil, especially those who claimed that they were the apostles of God but were proven to be liars. The Church of Christ began with the Ministry of the Apostles. The Word of the Lord actually came to the Apostles in the "New Testament" age and unveiled to them the revelation of the prophetic Word. The apostles were highly respected men of God. They were called and sent of God to get God's people to line up with the Word of God and God's plan of salvation. Satan knew what God was doing and began to impersonate Him.
Organized Christianity is in chaos today. Many denominational churches are supporting ecumenism, even though they are divided along doctrinal lines. And the individual groups tend to go about doing things according to their own ideas. But the Word of God shows that there would be a message (to be sounded forth by the angel to the Seventh Church Age) that would wake up the sleeping virgins (who truly have a deep desire to see the bridegroom come) to call them back to the Word (cf. Matt.25:1-13). Then an apostolic ministry would follow as God brings out the 5-Fold Ministry in full force to get the wise virgins to understand their faith which lies in the Apostolic doctrines (cf. Eph.4:11; 2:20; 3:5; Rev.21:14). Yes, the Apostolic ministry under the leadership of the Lord has returned.
How did the believers in the Ephesian Church Age test those who claimed they were apostles to the Church? They simply compared the teachings and practices of the so-called apostles with the message of the Apostle Paul who was the first apostle of God to the Gentiles. Similarly, we must put to the same test the teachings of those who claim to be the present day apostles. Paul said "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon" (1 Cor.3:10). Could anyone be a wiser masterbuilder? Any teaching or practice that is not of the Word must be rejected.
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 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.
Ephesus means "desirable; aimed at". It shows the spiritual attitude of the saints of that age towards God. They showed a lot of patience and they labored much for the Lord. Ephesus also means "relaxed and drifting". And that was what happened to many saints who began to relax from the fire that they possessed in the beginning and drift from the Truth and the Love of God.
God is warning His people to repent. Repentance is the only way to get back to God. It has never changed. We are living in an age where "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt.24:12 cf. 1 Tim.4:1). We need to heed the warning lest we become like the First Church which, when their fire went out and the lampstand was removed, never had another renewal - only a dead form remained.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
The Nicolaitanes were a group of people who sought to make a distinction between those who ministered the Word (clergy/elders) and those who accepted and listened to the Word (laity). They wanted to claim superiority of the ministers over the laity. In other words, they wanted to conquer (nikao) the laity (laos). When the Church Elders conquered the laity they prevented the Spirit of the Lord from moving about freely in the Church to manifest His gifts, such as tongues and prophecies. The Lord commended the believers who hated such deeds which He Himself also hated for God wanted His children to have His liberty in the Spirit.
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.
The promise to this (Ephesian) age, to all who received the revelation of the message, was the right to go into the paradise of God and partake of the tree of life (cf. Lk.23:43).
Letter to the Church in the Smyrnaean Age
Verse 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; Verse 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.
Smyrna means "bitter". It comes from the word "myrrh". It was an age of bitter persecution. The saints in the city of Smyrna were stricken with poverty and lived in great hardship. Because of their faith, they were made the laughing stocks in the city, especially by those pseudo-Jews who belonged to the synagogue of Satan. There were also many pseudo-believers who mocked and persecuted the saints. They were of the devil's assembly. Though they were poor materially, the true worshippers were rich in the Lord because of the revelation they had received through Irenaeus, the Messenger of God for the age, and the preachings of other true servants of God. With the true revelation they had received they were able to remain fearless in the midst of persecution against them for their faith.
Irenaeus was exalted by the Lord to be the Messenger to this Second Church Age. He was the disciple of that great saint and warrior of faith, Polycarp. And it is no doubt that as he sat at the feet of that great man he learned the Christian graces that flowed from his consecrated life. Polycarp was one of the truly memorable saints of all ages when viewed in the light of a blameless life. Polycarp was a student of John the Revelator but when confronted with the "deeds of the Nicolaitanes" which started in the First Age, he did not take his stand against it. On the contrary, he himself leaned toward a more organized form of Christianity, not realizing that the desire for fellowship and what appeared like a good plan to foster the work of God was really a trick of the enemy.
But Irenaeus was militant against any form of organization, with "man over man" controlling the Church. Also, his life, wherein be served the Lord, was one of great Holy Spirit manifestations, glorifying God. He clearly taught the Word, always conforming to its original precepts. His churches in France were known to have the gifts of the Spirit among them, for the saints spoke in tongues, prophesied, raised the dead, and healed the sick by the prayer of faith.
Recognizing the danger of the "deeds of the Nicolaitanes" Irenaeus opposed any organized brotherhood among the elders, pastors etc. He stood solidly for a unified, Spirit-filled church - manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He stood for a Sovereign God, working Sovreignly in the power of the Holy Spirit in each local body of believers.
He was also clear on his understanding of the Godhead. And since he was the disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was the disciple of Saint John, we can know for sure he had as perfect teaching as is possible on this subject.
The Smyrnaean Age lasted from the middle of the 2nd Century to the 4th Century.
Verse 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. Verse 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.
The elect of God do not persecute; rather they are persecuted. Persecution comes upon the elect as a trial of their faith. In the age of Smyrna, the saints endured tribulation brought upon them by the adversary of God. Some were cast into prison. And under the hands of Emperor Diocletian, thousands of Christians were martyred by the Romans during the period of "ten days" - 300 to 310 A.D. Those overcomers who endured and remained faithful to the point of death, as admonished by the Lord, would not die the "second death" but would receive a "crown of life".
The "second death" takes place when the spirit of life leaves the soul and body, which happens after the Great White Throne Judgment. The first death takes place when the soul departs from the body. (Read Rev.20:14; Gen.35:18.) Yahshua said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt.10:28). All sinners will have a share in the Lake of Fire as they are being burnt and destroyed completely. Yes, all the wicked ones will be annihilated. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part (Grk: 'meros' - share, division) in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev.21:8). Hence, the Doctrine of Eternal Death, which teaches that the soul of a wicked dead will be burnt endlessly in an eternal hell fire which will never be extinguished, is an erroneous teaching. There is only one form of LIFE and it is the LIFE of God. You either have IT or you don't.
Letter to the Church in the Pergamean Age
Verse 12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; Verse 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.
This is the age that Satan finally established his seat of power in Christendom - Apostate Christianity - when Constantine the Great became emperor in 312 A.D. Constantine's previous religion was the worship of the 'Unconquered Sun'. He became a Christian after he saw a vision of a cross in the sky. He described himself as the 'defender of the church' but was actually a meddler in church affairs. The interfering emperor convened an ecumenical council in 325 A.D., at Nicaea where some 1500 delegates gathered to define the doctrine of the Godhead. And the unholy doctrine of a '3-in-1' God was then formulated. From then on the Roman subjects were challenged by the bishops to receive the 'Christian trinity belief' as it was formulated at Nicaea. The belief in the Trinity, which consists of the tri-unity of God as Father, Son and Holy Ghost was thereby the only valid creed for all Christians. It became the state-furthered religion. (To this day the majority of Christians accept the teaching of the Trinity as a basic Scriptural doctrine without reservation.) Hence, Christianity was mixed with Paganism and made the official religion. This was the beginning of the first and largest denomination - the Roman Catholic Church. In the Book of Revelation she is identified as the Great Whore called "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (Rev.17:5) that sits on the First Beast (of Revelation 13) which is Romanism in its final stage.
Pergamos, meaning "citadel", pointed to the stronghold of the Roman Catholic system - which was very similar to the religious system of Nimrod of Babel (Babylon) - the seat of Satan. This was where Satan dwelled and is still dwelling even today. And Satan would not hesitate to slay any one like he did Antipas. But his present strategy is the use of religious deception. From where he sits, he is always scheming to sow little seeds of error in the teachings of God's Word so as to perpetuate falsehood among the people of God. However, God always raises true ministries to counter the deceivers "whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Tit.1:11). St. Martin was the messenger sent to wield the sharp two-edged Sword of the Word of God to counter the 'church and state' system.
Verse 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. Verse 15: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
We read in Numbers chapters 22 to 24 how that Balaam, who did not belong to the children of Israel, succeeded in getting the children of Israel to fornicate with the Moabites. Balak, the Moabite king, had bribed Balaam, a soothsayer, to prophesy evil against Israel. However, God stopped Balaam's mouth each time Balaam tried to curse the Israelites. Instead of cursing the Israelites, he blessed them. Eventually Balaam hatched a crafty plan. He had Balak set up a religious worship at Baalpeor with the Moabite women there to entice the men of Israel by openly performing sex acts during their worship. Soon the men of Israel were participating with the Moabites in their heathen activities. Thousands of the men of Israel, who committed sexual sins with the Moabite women and who got involved in their heathen worship, were judged and slain.
The spirit of Balaam was in Constantine when he used the same "doctrine of Balaam" to unite Paganism and Christianity. God hates idolatry and spiritual fornication. The "doctrine of Balaam" is still widely embraced by organized religious churches around the world. Through the Ecumenical Movement, especially the Charismatics, the organized churches are being united with the Roman Catholic Church. The majority of these people do not really care much for the Word of God. Satan is once again gathering these people together to commit spiritual fornication. All that these people want is the 'charismata' - tongues, prophecies, etc. - and whatever they have been indoctrinated by the elite clergymen with 'charisma'. They are taught many 'new revelations' which are unscriptural and have no basis in the Word of God. These people are being deceived, not knowing that they will be facing the judgement of God in the Day of God's Wrath. But the true Elect, the Bride of Christ, will stay away from such evil; they will feed upon the pure Word of God that God will receive them (cf. 2 Cor.6:14-18).
The apostate church of Rome has become a whore. The Book of Revelation and Church History have identified her as "Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots" and the denominations which follow her ways as her harlot-daughters. They love the "ways of Balaam" because they love the wages of unrighteousness (2 Pet.2:15). They follow the "doctrine of Balaam" by enticing God's people to commit spiritual fornication against God. And they commit the "error of Balaam" (Jude 1:11) by vexing and condemning those who follow the ways of the Apostolic Church of God.
The deeds of the Nicolaitans which started in the first Church Age have become a doctrine in this last Church Age. The "doctrine of the Nicolaitanes", coupled with the "doctrine of Balaam", has caused the widening of the gap between the clergy and the laity. With many different categories of 'priestshood' under the pope as the supreme head of the apostate church, the ministry has become more distant from the people. The denominational churches today have adopted similar organizational structure. They have their general superintendents, regional overseers and suchlike because they take after their Mother Harlot. The seat of Satan is a high seat - "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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa.14:13-14).
Verse 16: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Verse 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.
Towards the end of the 6th Century, God came upon the unrepentant ones with the Sword of His mouth and took away the lampstand while lighting another. But to those who had the ears to hear and to the overcomers, God allowed them to partake of the hidden manna which was the rich spiritual truths of God's Word. They were also each given a white stone signifying that they had the revelation and fellowship of God (cf. Matt.16:17-19). They were the few precious saints of Christ in that hour. Likewise, there are a few of such precious saints of Christ in this present hour. They will all receive their new name when they go up in the Rapture with their new body.
Using the A God Given Rule for choosing the messenger to each age, we find that the Brother whose ministry most closely compares to that of the first messenger, Paul, was Martin. His ministry to the Pergamean Age was powerful in Word and Demonstration of the Spirit. He stayed with the "original Word", rejecting any suggestion to "add" human opinions and ideas, thereby weakening it's effect on the people - "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition... "Mark 7:13.
Born in 315 in Hungary, the greater part of his ministry was in France where he labored in and around Tours as a bishop. Having fought "the good fight" for Truth he went to be with the Lord in 399 A.D. He was 84 years old. We should note here that this great saint was the uncle of another wonderful Christian, St. Patrick of Ireland.
Prior to his "call" to the Ministry of the Gospel, Martin was a professional soldier. While still in the ranks he came to know Christ as his Lord and Saviour. It was while he was still engaged in his soldier occupation that a most remarkable miracle occurred - it changed Martin's life forever.
It is recorded that a beggar lay sick in the streets of the town where Martin was posted. The winter cold was more than the beggar could bear for he was poorly clad. No one paid any attention to his needs until Martin came by. Seeing this poor man's plight, but not having an extra garment, he took off his outer cloak, cut it in two with his sword, and wrapped the cloth around the freezing man. Attending to the man as best he could, Martin went on his way. That night the Lord appeared unto him in a vision. There He stood, like a beggar, wrapped in the half of Martin's garment. The Lord spoke, saying, "Martin, though you're only yet young in the Gospel, you have clothed Me with this garment."
This was an experience that would deepen Martin's love for his Lord, and strengthen his desire to serve the Lord with all his heart. His life became a series of miracles, manifesting the power of God. HalleluYah! All we have to do is "Believe God".
After leaving the army, he became a leader in the church. His love for his Lord and his zeal for the WORD was manifested in his very militant stand against pagan idolatry. He cut down the groves, broke up the images and pulled down the altars - proclaim the Truth of the One True and Living God . When confronted by the pagans for his deeds he challenged them in much the same manner that Eliyah did the prophets of Baal.
He offered to be tied to a tree on its underside so that when it was cut down it would crush him unless God intervened and turned the tree around while it fell. Responding to the challenged, the pagans tied him to a tree that was growing on the side of a hill, assured that the natural pull of gravity would cause the tree to so fall and crush him. Just as the tree began to fall, God swung it around and uphill, contrary to all natural laws. The fleeing heathen were crushed as the tree fell on several of them.
Historians acknowledged that on at least three occasions he raised the dead by faith in Christ's' Name. In one instance be prayed for a dead baby. Like Elisha, he stretched himself upon the babe and prayed. It came back to life and health. On another occasion he was called to help deliver a brother who was being carried away to his death in a time of great persecution. By the time he arrived the poor man was already dead. They had hanged him upon a tree. His body was lifeless and his eyes protruded from the sockets. But Martin took him down, and when he had prayed the man was restored to life and to his rejoicing family.
There was no fear of the enemies of Truth in the eyes or heart of Martin. When he stood for the Revealed Word of God he had no respect of persons - not even the emperor. He went to personally face a wicked emperor who was responsible for the death of many Spirit-filled saints. The emperor would not grant an audience, so Martin went to see a friend of the emperor, one Damasus, a cruel bishop of Rome. But the bishop, being a nominal Christian of the false vine would not intercede.
Not to be deterred in his mission, Martin went back to the palace, but by now the gates had been locked and they would not allow him to enter. He lay down on his face before the Lord and prayed that he be able to get into the palace. He heard a voice bidding him arise. When be did so, be saw the gates open of their own accord. He walked directly into the emperor's court. But the arrogant ruler would not so much as turn his bead to acknowledge or speak to him. Martin again prayed. Then suddenly, the Lord caused a fire to come spontaneously from the seat of the throne, forcing the very unhappy emperor out of the throne to "stand" in the presence of His Servant, Martin. The Lord knows how to humble the proud and exalt the lowly.
Martin was a "praying man". It was proven in his life that "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16. Such was his passion in serving the Lord that the devil was mightily aroused against Martin's ministry and life. The enemies of truth hired assassins to kill Martin, They came by stealth to his home and as they were about to kill him, he stood erect and bared his throat to the sword. As they leaped forward, the power of God suddenly hurled them back across the room. So overcome were they in that holy and fearful atmosphere that they crawled upon their bands and knees and begged forgiveness for the attempt upon his life.
Too often when men are mightily used of the Lord, they become lifted up with pride. But not so with Martin. He ever remained the humble servant of God. One night as he was preparing himself to enter the pulpit, a beggar came to his study and asked for some clothing. Martin referred the beggar to his head deacon, who simply commanded him to leave. Rather than leave he went back to see Martin. Martin, in his compassion for the beggar gave him his best robe, and bade the deacon bring him another robe which was of lesser quality. That night as Martin preached the Word, the flock of God saw a soft white glow of light around this anointed servant of God.
Surely this was a great man, a true messenger to that age. Never desirous of aught, but to please God he lived a most consecrated life. Never could he be induced to preach until he had first prayed and was in such spiritual frame as to know and deliver the full counsel of God by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Often he would keep the people waiting while he prayed for full assurance. Just to know about Martin and his mighty ministry might make one think that the persecution of the saints had abated. On the contrary - persecution reached greater heights of brutality. Indeed, this age thirsted for the blood of the Christian martyrs. By signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Ghost, Martin was truly vindicated as the messenger to the Pergamean Age. But not only was he gifted by a great ministry, be himself was forever true to the Word of God. He fought organization. He withstood sin in high places. He championed the truth in word and deed and lived out a full life of Christian victory.
Letter to the Church in the Thyatirean Age
Verse 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; Verse 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. Verse 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.
In the Fourth Church Age, Christ stood with fine brazen feet ready to judge the church if she did not repent. Because He had gone through the fiery judgement of God for us, He has therefore inherited the right to judge His church. No sin in the church could ever escape the judgement of His blazing eyes.
Thyatira means "dominating female". In the days when the Apostle John received this vision, there was a woman named Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess and taught in the church in the City of Thyatira. She also seduced the ministers of God to commit fornication with her and made them eat food offered to idols. In the Old Testament period of the kings of Israel, there was also a queen named Jezebel, who was an idolater and seductress, the wife of King Ahab. She controlled her husband, ruled over the people and killed the prophets of God.
God has never ordained women preachers in His church. All the ministers in the Five-fold Ministry of God are men. Because the Woman strayed outside the Word in the Garden of Eden when she was deceived by the Serpent, God had to put her in her designated place in the church. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (1 Tim.2:11-14 cf. 1 Cor.14:34-35). Churches which hearken to the Satanic voice of Jezebel and allow women in their midst to preach and teach the Word of God are actually blinded by Satan to the Truth. Surely, they are in for a rough time that lies just ahead.
The church of Thyatira was aptly chosen to represent the Fourth Church Age which lasted from the close of the 6th Century to about the year 1520. 'Mother Church' dominated the world through her politico-religious system. Many countries outside of Europe, such as the Philippines, Canada and Latin America were colonized by the Roman Catholic nations through their missionaries. The papacy was elevated so highly that the Pope presented himself as 'Vicarius Filii Dei' - Latin for the 'Vicar of the Son of God'. But Christ has no vicar; He himself intercedes for all of His own. To prevent his authority from being examined, the Pope took the Bible away from the people and replaced it with superstitious rituals. One such ritual was the "continual sacrifice" (another meaning of the word "Thyatira") of the Body of Christ which they called 'Mass'. The old apostate church began to teach her ministers her own 'Apostolic' doctrines. Every good thing was brought to a standstill. Superstitions and evil works were rampant. Poverty, sicknesses and diseases were prevalent. This was a glorious period for Satan and his wife, the Roman Catholic Church. It lasted for about a thousand years. Life was hard especially for the saints at that time. Many family members were separated from one another. Many hid themselves and worshipped in caves and catacombs under difficult conditions. Can the saints of today be compared to those saints in their works, charity, service, faith and patience?
Verse 21: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Verse 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. Verse 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.
Did the Roman Catholic Church repent? No, she did not and she will never ever repent. She made herself to be a great prophetess and claimed divine authority in all her words. Her spirit became worse as the days passed. God's messenger, Columba, and other men of God tried to get her back to the Word. But she refused to accept it. So God had declared a period of Great Tribulation when He would cast her out there together with those 'servants of God' who committed spiritual fornication with her. Spiritual fornication produced spiritual death. Such unholy union was devoid of the Life of God; they only produced bastard children. These children were appointed by God to spiritual death. Yes, the blazing eyes of Christ search the reins and hearts of all the churches and God rewards them according to their works. Sadly, the majority of the 'protestant' churches in this 20th Century have joined up with that harlot prophetess "Jezebel". They are actually born of whoredom and so they have returned to reunite with the "Mother of Harlot" and God will cast all of them together with her into the sickbed of Great Tribulation.
Verse 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. Verse 25: But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
To the messenger and those who did not embrace the doctrine of Jezebel or learn what was called the deep things of Satan, Christ admonished them to hold on to what they possessed and He would not put upon them any additional burden. And His promise to them was: Verse 26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Verse 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. Verse 28: And I will give him the morning star.
For those saints who will persevere to the end and overcome, what a day it will be when they shall live and reign with Christ in the Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28)! They will cease to live in a dark chaotic age because they will receive the bright "morning star" - Jesus Christ, their Shepherd King! Together with Christ, they shall rule the nations righteously with true justice. Verse 29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
St. Columba. His ministry to the Thyatirean Age was powerful in Word and Demonstration of the Spirit. He stayed with the "original Word", over-ruling all human opinions and ideas. He took his stand against the "religious tradition" which was now becoming ingrained in people's thinking, through the teaching of the false vine. Actually there were two men in the British Isles, whose ministry in Word and deed could stand the test of truth. They were St. Patrick and St. Columba. But it was to St. Columba that the lot of being the messenger fell. Before looking more closely at his life and ministry let's take a brief look at the life of St. Patrick.
In spite of claims to the contrary by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Patrick was not a Roman Catholic, no more than Joan of Arc. Patrick was born to the sister of St. Martin in the little town of Bonavern on the banks of the river Clyde. One day while playing on the shoreline with his two sisters, pirates approached and kidnapped all three. Patrick (his name was Succat) was sold to a chieftain in Northern Ireland but his sisters were never heard of again. In Ireland his job was to tend the swine. Eventually he was able to train dogs to assist him in his job. So well trained were his dogs that many people came from far and near to buy them. It was a lonely existance for a young man so far from home and family. But his loneliness drove him to call on the Lord for comfort. He entered into a deep saving and keeping relationship with the Lord. With his new found faith in Christ came the urgent desire to escape and return home to his parents. Using his God-given ability as a dog-trainer he devised a plan to escape. God prospered his plan to escape. With the help of the dogs and a Christian Captain of a boat Patrick finally reached home.
At home Patrick went to Bible school and returned to Ireland where, by the Word and the power of God, and in many signs and wonders he won thousands to the Lord. At no time did he ever go to Rome nor at any time was he commissioned by Rome. The truth of the matter is that when Rome finally gained a foothold on the island and when they saw the time was opportune, they killed over 100,000 Christians who had over the years grown out of the original group that had come to the Lord under St. Patrick. Yet, as great as his ministry was, he was not to be the Messenger to the Age.
About 60 years after the death of St. Patrick, Columba was born in County Donegal, North Ireland, to the royal family of Fergus. He became a brilliant, consecrated scholar, committing to memory most of the Scripture. God called him in an audible voice to be a missionary. After he had heard the voice of God, nothing could stop him, and his miraculous ministry has caused many historians to acclaim him next to the apostles. So great was his ministry with the supernatural signs following that some (especially students in Rome) supposed that the accounts were exaggerated. But God testified of validity of His servant's ministry.
In one of his missionary journeys, as he approached a walled city, he found the gates barred against him. He lifted his voice in prayer that God might intervene and allow him access to the people in order to preach. But as he prayed the court magicians began to harass him with loud noises. He then began to sing a psalm. As he sang, God so increased the volume of his voice that he drowned out the cries of the heathen. Suddenly the gates burst open of their own accord. He entered in and preached the Gospel, winning many to the Lord.
On another occasion when he was also shut out from a village, as he turned away to depart, the son of the chief suddenly became violently ill, even unto death. St. Columba was quickly sought after and recalled. When be prayed the prayer of faith the boy was instantly healed. The village was then opened to evangelization by the Gospel.
The pure Gospel that was preached by Columba and his fellow workers spread over the whole of Scotland, turning it to God. It also overflowed into Ireland and over Northern Europe. His means of spreading the Gospel was one wherein perhaps twelve men under a leader would go into a new area and literally build a Gospel-centered town. Amongst these twelve men would be carpenters, teachers, preachers, etc., all wonderfully versed in the Word and holy living. This little colony was enclosed by a wall. Soon this enclosure would be surrounded by students and their families in their own homes, learning the Word and preparing to go out and serve the Lord as missionaries, leaders, and preachers. The men were free to marry though many (of their own free will) chose not to marry that they may devote more of their time to serving God. They remained free from state help, and thereby steered clear of politics. Instead of ever attacking other religions they taught the truth for they believed that the truth was weapon enough to accomplish the ends that God had in mind for them. They were absolutely independent of Rome.
St. Columba was the founder of a great Bible school on the island of Hy (off the S.W. coast of Scotland). When he went there the island was so barren and rocky that it could not bear enough food for them all. But Columba planted seed with one hand while he held the other aloft in prayer. Today the island is one of the most fertile in the world. From this Bible-centered island went forth mighty scholars with wisdom and the power of God.
When Brother Branham read the history of this great servant of God and the wonderful work he did, his heart was saddened to find that the papal power, lusting to bring all men into its grasp, came and eventually defiled these mission fields and destroyed the truth as it was taught by Columba. Nicolaitanism and Balaamism had taken it's toll, but a few [along with Columba] would be found faithful.
Letter to the Church in the Sardisean Age
Verse 1: And 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 art dead. Verse 2: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
It is clear that the Seven Spirits of God (assigned to Seven Angels) worked with, and through, the Seven Stars in the Seven Church Ages. The fifth of the Seven Spirits (in the Fifth Angel) conveyed the message of Christ to Martin Luther, the messenger to the Sardisean Age.
Luther was taught by the prophetess Jezebel (Roman Catholic Church) for quite some time until he received a revelation when he heard the Voice of God saying, "The just shall live by faith". He fled from the seduction of the prophetess. Then there was a revival of faith all over Germany after he wrote 95 theses against the Papal system and nailed them on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in the year 1517. That started what is commonly known as the Reformation Age, but God called it the age of Sardis - the "escaped ones" - for the people were able to get away from the grasp of the apostate church. The Papal system was fatally wounded. It is recorded of Martin Luther in Sauer's History Vol. 3, page 406 that he was, "a prophet, evangelist, speaker in tongues, interpreter, in one person, endowed with all nine gifts of the Spirit." Luther's ministry and the revealed Truth of "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BE FAITH" was the springing forth of a little green shoot, signifying the "rebirth" of the Church Spiritual which had been marytred by the millions, during the Dark Ages. Truth was "beginning" to be restored to the true Sons and Daughters of God. He will be forever known as the instrument in the hand of God who revived this truth. He was the fifth messenger and his message was, "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
It was unfortunate that this age ended so quickly at around the year 1750. God knew about their works - their deeds - because of the revival which got them moving into the Life of God, but they soon turned to formalism which made them look good on the outside but corrupt on the inside. They had a "name" with a reputation for being active and alive, but to the Lord they were spiritually dead. They were warned to strengthen their remaining Christian things that were about to fade away and die.
The spirit of the apostate church had such a strong impact on this age that "daughters" were born, each having a "name". There were the Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Brownists, Mennonites and many others. They all had "works" and "names" which only gave the impression that they were spiritually alive, even with spiritual gifts, but were in fact cold and dead. Today, there are nearly two thousand big "names" the majority of which are either spiritually dead or dying.
Verse 3: 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.Verse 4: 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.
Would that all Christians remember what they have received and heard concerning the Word of God lest they fall into a mere form of worship. It is important to know what we hear and how we hear it so that we will receive the right things according to the Will of God that we may continue to live and walk in the light of God's Word. Failure to do so can cause the lamp in our life to be snuffed out. God warned the Sardiseans, the "escaped ones", about their short-comings. Having escaped, they should have followed the path where God had wanted them to go. Instead they took the road to some traditional catechisms and became apostates. However, only a few of them - which is always the case in every age - were worthy of their callings for they had not defiled their garments. Because of the people's failure to hear and follow what God was saying, Christ blew out their lamp.
Letter to the Church in the Philadelphian Age
Verse 7: And to 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;
Philadelphia means "brotherly love" which the Church in Philadelphia possessed. The saints were full of brotherly kindness. This Church depicted the age which lasted from 1750 to 1906. It was the greatest missionary age in the history of Christianity during which the Word of God was greatly published, promulgated and preached to various nations of the world. With it also came the realization of the need for Christians to clothe themselves with sanctification and holiness "as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet.1:14-16). Now, this holiness is not of our own. Holiness is of the Lord. Some Christians believe they could or should work for their own holiness. Such people set their own standard of holiness and they tend to measure others by their own standard (Rom.10:3-4). In fact, such Christians are being self-righteous. And self-righteousness is a sin. It is Christ Who has imputed upon us His righteousness - "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Rom.8:10). Therefore, because we believe in God and His Word, which cleanses us from all sins, the Holy Spirit lives in us that we can live for God. (cf. Matt.3:15). Amen. Therefore, we should be holy and live in holiness. This is true.
David was a king and a warrior. So was Christ. He was a King Who was great in battle (Psa.24:8,10). Every time the children of Israel followed King David to battle, they believed David would win the battle. Likewise, as Christians, we have the assurance that we will win our battle when we follow Christ our King Who has the key of David.
By the time the Sardisean Age closed out, "Jezebel" had already built a mighty citadel with extremely high and strong walls around it and a door that no one could break through. The Roman Catholic Church was in full control of Western Europe. However, during the Philadelphian age, Christ gave the believers the key of David and set an open door for them to win the battles against that Harlot system. No one could close the door that Christ had opened because He alone had the "key" and the "authority". In the political realm, there were wars and revolts in many parts of Europe. People wanted a better life and the freedom of religions.
Through the ministry of John Wesley, the Star to the age, and other men of God, the stronghold of Mother Harlot was weakened and she lost her 'absolute power' over the people. By the end of the 18th Century, the Papacy was completely defeated though not destroyed. There's no disputing God's choice as the Messenger to the Philadelphian Age. Most, if not all Bible students agree that John Wesley was God's man for the time. He was born at Epworth, England, June 17, 1703 and was one of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His father was a chaplain in the Church of England, but the greatest religious influence in John's life was his mother's highly commendable Christian life. Even with 19 children and a household to run with no modern conveniences she still redeemed time every day to train the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
John was a brilliant scholar, and with his brother, Charles, attended the University of Oxford. It was while at Oxford that the Lord began to deal with John. While he was at Oxford he and his brother became part of a group of students who felt that the emphasis should be on "living the Christ-like life" rather than on than making doctrine their standard. They drew up spiritual guidelines - a "method" by which they would discipline their daily lives. They focused on such "works" as giving to the poor, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. For this they were called Methodists, and many other derogatory names. In spite of the persecution these "Methodists" persevered.
Such was the influence it had on John that he caught the vision of the "need of the hour" - a fresh move of the Spirit of God. Wanting to do something for the Lord, John ventured forth as a missionary, traveling to America to take the Message of the Gospel to American Indians in Georgia. On his way there he found that many of the ship's passengers were Moravians. He was deeply impressed by their meekness, peace, and courage in all circumstances. His labors in Georgia in spite of self denials and hard work was a failure. He returned to England crying, "I went to America to convert the Indians but oh! who shall convert me?" Back in London he again met the Moravians. One of them, Peter Boehler, expounded unto John the way of salvation which was "by Grace through faith...and not of works". The revelation was quickened in John's heart and he was truly born again. His brother, Charles, could not understand how such a spiritual man as John could say he was not previously right with God. But, not long after John's "experience with God" Charles himself came to experience the "new birth" which is found alone "by Grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ".
With the Anointing of God on His life Wesley now began (in London) to preach the Gospel of Salvation in the pulpits in which he had previously preached Salvation "through" works. But he would soon discover that His "Anointed preaching" was not welcome in the pulpits which now preached only a "form of godliness and works" religion. Church doors were closed in his face. he was considered to be out of step with the organized church and on the fanatical fringe.
It was at this time that his old friend, George Whitefield invited John to come and help him preach in "God's Cathedral" - the open fields of England where thousands, under Whitefield's ministry, were listening to the Word of God. At first Wesley was skeptical of preaching in open fields as opposed to being in a church building. But he couldn't deny the results he was seeing - thousands of souls being brought into the Kingdom of God through the Gospel that was preached in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. Convinced, Wesley preached wherever and whenever the Holy Spirit led him - in the open fields, in buildings, in homes, etc.
So great was the response to the ministry of the Word that he began sending out numerous laymen to preach the Word. It was like in the days of the early church in the book of Acts - almost overnight the Holy Spirit raised up men with power to preach and teach the Word. The Revival Spirit was in the air. Men and women were born into the Church of the "First-born", written in heaven; not a church or group dominated by men, but the True Church which was under the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
In spite of tremendous and sometimes violent opposition to his work, it kept growing and spreading. God was with him. So powerful was the Anointing of the Spirit of conviction on the people that it would take away their strength and they would fall to the ground crying in great distress over their sins; but in today's religious world they preach "forgiveness without repentance"; "heaven but no hell"; resulting in a "Christianity with no Christ".
By the Grace of God, Wesley was a remarkably strong man. He says of himself that he could not remember ever having felt lowness of spirits for even a quarter hour since he was born. He slept no more than six hours a day; arose in time to start preaching at five practically every day of his ministry; preached up to four times on a single day so that in a year he would average over 800 sermons. The power of God was present to perform His Word.
John and his circuit riding preachers traveled thousands of miles to carry the Gospel near and far. In fact Wesley traveled 4500 miles per year by horse. He was a believer in the power of God and he prayed for the sick with great faith and wonderful results. Many of his meetings saw the manifestation of Spiritual gifts.
Wesley was not in favor of organization. It was not his intention that "the Methodist revival" be organized into a denominational church, replacing the Word with a creed and replacing spontaneous praise and worship with ritual and forms of godliness. He recognized that after his death the movement could be organized and the Spirit of God leave them to dead form. He once remarked that he did not fear that the name of Methodist would leave the earth but that the Spirit might take His flight from the Methodist movement. Though he was an Armenian in his beliefs, he did not want to separate himself from brethren on the grounds of doctrine. He was a good candidate for James: He based his eternal life on faith and works, or the living of the life, rather than simply accepting a creed or a doctrinal statement. John Wesley died at the age of 88 having served God as few men would even dare to think they might. And the churches who would claim him as their founder have long lost the life, power, and character which Wesley possessed
In that city of Philadelphia, the Church at that time bore the Name of Christ. Like all the churches in the days of the Apostle John, the saints were all water baptized in the Name of the Lord. Since the doctrine of the Trinity was formulated in the Pergamean Age, the true believers had to contend for their faith in the ONE NAME of God Almighty. The true faith was already bedimmed and not fully understood in the way that it should be. Nevertheless, they held to the Name and did not deny it. As long as the predestinated seeds of God have a little strength, keep God's Word and do not deny His Name, the door of Christ will remain open for them to refresh themselves in the Word of God for the hour. They will be saved in the arms of Christ as long as they keep His Word. Amen. But one of these days the door will be shut as Christ takes His Gospel to the Jews. Then it will be too late. So, wake up, slumbering saints of God!
Throughout the Seven Church Ages, many Christians had suffered in their own ways during their "hour of temptation". But that "which shall come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the world" points to a future period of eventful days of the Great Tribulation, after the True Church (Bride) is raptured. It would be a dreadful "hour of temptation" for the people of the world but the enduring saints who keep the Word of God will be spared. So, let us be patient for patience produces experience (trustiness, character) and experience produces hope (confidence) that will not disappoint us. Already we have the revelation of the love of God in our heart (Rom.5:4-5). "Until the time that his word came: the word of Yahweh tried him" (Psa.105:19). Without patience the fire of many Christians are dying out. Some have fallen from the faith while others are seeking for some sensations among the Pentecostals and the Charismatics.
Letter to the Church in the Laodicean Age
Verse 14: 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;
We are living in the Laodicean Age which began around the year 1906 and which will end at the coming of Christ for His Bride. Though the name Laodicea means "people's rights" it was often used in honor of certain royal ladies. The name so chosen by the Lord is apt for this last age. There are indeed many 'royal ladies' (grand denominational churches) with people within them demanding their rights. But the only rights a Christian have are those which God has stated in His Word. But the Laodicean Christians do not want that. They may not openly say so, but they will water down the Word and Will of God to such an extent that they practically dress, talk, and behave just like the world. They curse, swear, cheat and lie. Their womenfolk cut their hair, paint their faces and put on shorts and trousers like men or dress indecently. Some of their men, with long hair, behave like women, almost. These Christians are being seduced by lying spirits (1 Tim.4:1). This last generation of the Laodicean Age is but a sick generation.
"The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" - Christ Jesus -forfeited His own rights in order to do the will of our Heavenly Father. He was obedient to every Word of God and He fulfilled the Father's will that He became a living sacrificial lamb, taking upon Himself the sins of the world to the cross. He shed His own precious blood and died for the salvation of mankind. He conquered death that we might have life. Read John 17:4; 6:38; 5:19. Therefore we belong to Christ. Christ lives in us. We are no longer our own for we are purchased with a price (Gal.2:20; 1 Cor.6:19-20). "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.5:13).
Verse 15: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. Verse 16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
When Christians demand their rights, their priority to the Lord and His Word will be relegated to the second place as their individual rights preoccupy their minds. They are lukewarm and do not have the right spiritual judgment. They are neither cold nor hot. If they are either cold or hot, God will deal with them accordingly. But God is sick of lukewarm Christians and He is going to vomit them out of His mouth. They may have certain achievements in their works for the Lord. But God has no regard for their works. Truly, "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov.14:12). Get in line with the Word, beloved! Don't be like the church out there in the world!
Verse 17: 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:
How true it is! As this Church Age gets closer to the return of Christ, the church becomes vainer in their appearance. But the Bride, the True Elect, is not so. Each of the 'royal ladies' (grand denominational churches) would compete for greater attention of the world with their church programs to increase their membership. They have different sorts of social activities to make the people feel good. They would raise large amount of money to buy properties and build large church buildings. Certainly, these grand denominations are so preoccupied with their riches and abundance of material goods that they feel that God is favoring them. But they are deceiving themselves in thinking that such material riches are the blessings of God. They are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" and they don't even know it! How pathetic it is for a person to be in such a situation and yet not realizing it. The same applies to the spiritual condition. It is simply lukewarmness! Beloved, these organized churches are but religious lodges. They are Satan's Eden. And God is going to cast them into great tribulation.
Verse 18: 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 thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Our Lord is a God of love, grace and mercy. Before He passes judgment He would give a warning and provide a way of escape for those who have an ear to hear what His Spirit is saying to the church. He is counseling the church to buy of Him "gold tried in the fire". In other words, He wants them to have the genuine faith that has withstood the test of fiery trials through the ages of time - a Holy Ghost Faith in the Word of God, in Christ Jesus and in the Ministry of God for the hour. It is not just speaking in tongues, evangelizing the world, or doing good works, etc., but that Christ is revealing the Fullness of the Word of God in the believers that they may truly see the true riches in the Word and be spiritually clothed in the Word. However, many Christians just cannot stay still for a while to really hear and receive the Message God has prepared for them. So, they end up with counterfeit gifts and fool's gold that are worthless. But Jesus said: Verse 19: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Yes, there will be a group of people whom Jesus loves. They will repent. They won't rebel as Jesus corrects them. They will respond to the love of God in Christ. They will hear the voice of God's Seventh Church Age Messenger, William Marrion Branham. They will receive and contend for the genuine golden faith that was once delivered to the saints in the days of the Apostles (Jude 3). The pathway of the believers is not an easy one. But to those saints that are faithful, the Apostle Peter admonished: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Yahshua" (1 Pet.1:7). Amen.
Verse 20: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
As this Church Age comes to its end we see that Christ is no longer inside the church. This Church Age started with an outpouring of God's Gifts. The outpouring was supposed to get the church to pay close attention to the Word of God. Instead, we see the church wanting more of the gifts of God than the Giver Himself. Paul says that God gives and distributes His gifts as He wills (cf. 1 Cor.12) but the church is saying that all believers must speak in tongues or have at least one of the gifts. On the other hand, there are those who reject the gifts, saying that they are for the early church only. There are so much division in the church in this age that every organized assembly, in some ways, claims to be the only 'royal lady' of Christ. How could that be when they have not only displaced the Word but have replaced It with the creeds and dogmas of man? Instead of worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, they are worshipping Him according to human traditions. They are so taken up with their religious activities that they do not even realize that Christ is no longer inside the church. Yes, this is the condition of the church today. Christ is outside the church and He is calling the people to open their hearts to Him.
The church today has no true message for the people of the world because Christ is no longer inside the church. So, in order to get the church recognized as a power, the 'royal ladies' are uniting themselves. Satan had it planned out in the early 20th Century to unite all these 'noble harlots' together under one roof - "One World, One Church" - to lead all of them back to their Mother, the Great Whore of Revelation chapter 17, which is the Roman Catholic Church. No wonder Revelation chapter 10 shows us that the Mighty Angel (who is Christ) swore that time should no longer delay for Christ to claim His right of redemption since His last message to the age has gone forth and the Church Age has come to its end. Through the message of the Seventh Angel to the age, Christ is calling God's elect to flee from the harlot system. Every true worshipper will open his or her heart for Christ to come in. And the heavenly table has never been so richly spread by Christ before the saints as in this last age as He feasts with them and they with Him. The Bride is getting back to the Word of God and is being perfected at this time by the Word of God through the Five-fold Ministry (Eph.4:11-16). Christ is revealing Himself in fullness to the Bride as He anoints her eyes with eye-salve.
Verse 21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
God will grant to every individual believer, who overcomes the state of lukewarmness, who gets spiritually hot for the Lord Jesus, who lives a holy life and who does the Will of God, the right to share in the authority of Christ. Our Lord Jesus, as an overcomer, has set an example for us to follow. He laid aside His glory, took the form of man and "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb.4:15 cf. Phil.2:5-11). He overcame and is now sitting with God in His throne having all power in His hand (Matt.28:18).
Verse 22: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Have you heard? The admonition to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches is the same for all Churches Ages. There is not only the necessity to hear but also the need to have a spiritual ear to hear correctly the revelation of the Holy Spirit for the age. As Christ folds up the Dispensation of Grace to the Gentiles we need to be more prayerful in watching and understanding what the Holy Spirit is doing concerning the Kingdom of God that we might be a part of God's eternal plan.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Seventh Church Age Messenger was non other than William Branham. William Branham was born in a log cabin in the hills of Kentucky hills on April 6th 1909, the first of nine children of Charles and Ella Branham. Within 15 minutes of his birth, a mysterious light entered the cabin and hovered near the middle of the room before departing through the ceiling. Charles and Ella were nominally Catholic, but the nearest Church was the Opossum Kingdom Baptist Church, which is where they brought William Branham to have him dedicated.
In 1912, at the age of three, a voice spoke to William Branham and said that he would live near New Albany, Indiana. His father, a brawler and alcoholic, was in trouble with the law at the time, and had left the family on their own. Later that year, Charles Branham sent a letter to his wife calling the family to New Albany, where William Branham spent the rest of his childhood years.
William Branham was recruited in 1916 to haul water to his father's corn whiskey moonshine still. While carrying a bucket of water up the hill, William Branham saw a whirlwind caught in a tree. The voice spoke from the whirlwind and instructed him never to drink or smoke or defile his body in any way, in preparation of a future work.
Grade 7 was William Branham's last year of formal education. That same year, 1923, he was accidentally shot in the leg while hunting with a friend. The shotgun wound was severe, and his family was unable to pay for medical expenses. Laying on a hospital bed, William Branham had a vision of falling into hell. Crying for God, he started a slow recovery.
Instead of becoming a preacher, William Branham decided to run off to Arizona in 1927 and become a cowboy. He finally returned to Indiana in 1929 at the news of the death of his best friend - his brother Edward. Back in Indiana, he found work as a high-voltage linesman with the Indiana Public Works, and as a Deputy game warden. William Branham also started a side career as a 'prize fighter' boxer winning 52 fights before being defeated in the ring. He continued at these occupations for a while until he was overcome by gas fumes in 1931, which stared a period of near-death illness. It was during this time that he promised to serve God, and was converted in the winter of that year.
1933 was a remarkable year for William Branham. First, he had a series of seven prophetic visions starting with the second world war and ending with the destruction of America. Second, as the result of some doctrinal differences, William Branham started construction on his own church, called the 'First Pentecostal Baptist' church (Jeffersonville Evening News, 10 June 1933 - this later became known as the 'Branham Tabernacle'). On June 11, 1933, while baptizing people in the Ohio River, at the end of Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, hundreds of people saw a bright fiery light suddenly appeared over his head, and a voice spoke from the light, saying: "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Christ, so your message will forerun His second coming". William Branham continued to work and preach, and married Hope Brumbach in 1934. In 1935, a son, Billy Paul, was born to William and Hope Branham
All of his life, he had been afraid of the supernatural that accompanied his life. Ministers had told him it was of the devil, so he had tried to run from it. The problem was that the more he ran, the more it followed him. So in 1946 he took is Bible, told his wife he wouldn't return until he got and answer from God, and went into the backcountry where he had trapped as a child. While praying for an answer, an Angel appeared, and spoke to Branham. The voice of the angel was the same voice he had heard from the whirlwind as a child, and said: "Do not fear, for I am sent from the Presence of the Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar birth and life has been to indicate that you're to take a gift of Divine healing to the peoples of the world. If you'll be sincere when you pray, and get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer. You will go into many parts of the earth and will pray for kings and rulers and potentates. You will preach to multitudes the world over and thousands will come to you for counsel". The Angel told William Branham about the signs that would follow his ministry, and began to teach him from the scriptures at that time. Knowing that this gift was from God, William Branham returned to his family, and started his own method of healing evangelism with his whole heart, believing in the Angel's commission.
From the mid 1950s onwards William Branham became more open with his beliefs, and by the late 1950s he was openly stating that the Trinity as presented by most churches was not scriptural. He took the position that neither Oneness theology nor Trinitarianism lined up with the Bible. William Branham also started to teach a number of other doctrines which were considered to be unorthodox, but by no means unprovable from the Bible, such as the 'serpent's seed doctrine. By this time, both of the signs were open to the public. The first sign was a physical sign appearing in his hand indicating a disease or healing. The second sign was that the secret thoughts and needs of individuals were revealed to him, just as they were revealed to other Prophets in the Bible. These signs never ceased to vindicate William Branham's ministry.
In 1963 William Branham received another angelic visitation. This time, the Angel told him to go to Jeffersonville and preach a series of meetings on Seven Seals. William Branham did just that, and the Angel of the Lord instructed him on what to say, and what not to say during these services. These sermons marked the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
On December 18, 1965 William Branham and his family (all except his daughter Rebekah) were returning to Jeffersonville, Indiana from Tucson, Arizona for the Christmas Holidays. About three miles east of Friona, Texas just after dark, a car traveling west in the eastbound lane, struck Branham's car head-on. The driver of the car was intoxicated and died at the scene as did the other front seat passenger. The other two passengers in the back seat of the car were severely injured. Branham's wife was seriously injured and his daughter Sarah was lying in the back seat also injured. Branham's left arm was mangled and caught in the driver-side door, and his left leg was wrapped around the steering wheel. After about 45 minutes Branham was pulled from his car and transported to the hospital at Friona-then later transported to the hospital at Amarillo, Texas. He lived for six days after the crash, dying on December 24, 1965 at 5:49 PM. His body was returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana for burial.
Events During The Ages
Rev 4:6-7: And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
The "four beasts" should be called the "four living creatures". They are guardian angels with great intelligence. They know what is before and behind them (cf. Ezek.1:5,18). They guard the way to the "Tree of Life". Right after the Fall of Adam and Eve, God expelled the couple from the Garden of Eden and placed these cherubim (some are called seraphim, see Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1 and 10) in the east of the Garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve (in their fallen state) from ever eating of the "Tree of Life" and live forever. The "Tree of Life" is the Living Word of God. Adam and Eve were eating of this tree until they fell into temptation and ate of the other tree, the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" (which represents the perverted knowledge of the Truth). Hence, what is recorded in the Book of Genesis and in this verse show that fallen man, try as he may, can never partake of eternal life by any other way except the ordained way of the Cross of Christ. Figuratively speaking, no one can sneak up on the "Tree of Life" when so many eyes are constantly watching. Even in the Old Testament time, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and camped out in the wilderness, God organized them in divine order. Compassing around the Tabernacle of Moses, there were three tribes on each side with one of these four banners - the likeness of a lion, an ox, a man and a flying eagle. Every one of those warriors of Israel would fight and die, if necessary, just to guard the Ark of the Covenant that was in the Tabernacle.
In the New Testament, we have the Four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Respectively, these four books reflect the nature and characteristics of Christ as the lion, which represents His royalty and kingship; the ox, which represents His patience and sacrifice; the man, which represents His sympathy and humanity; and the flying eagle, which represents His glorious majesty and divinity. These four books guard as well as open up the way to eternal life. They are the 'Good News' of salvation in Christ Who is seated on the Throne of God. So, the only way by which one can come into the Life of God is the 'Gospel Way'.
Verse 8: And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh El Shaddia, which was, and is, and is to come.
These living creatures were not created and programmed by God to worship Him day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh El Shaddia, which was, and is, and is to come". Some preachers, in an effort to ensure that their teachings stick, have literally made a nonsense of certain Scriptural doctrines. They teach that the angelic beings were programmed to worship God robotically. In Genesis 1:26, in speaking to the angels, God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". If the angelic beings were created in the image and likeness of God, then they certainly could not be robots. They have the freewill to make their own choices. Like Adam and Eve, these living creatures, together with all the other heavenly beings, were tested at some point in time past after they were created. Unlike the one-third of the heavenly host who chose to follow Lucifer in His rebellion against the authority of God, these creatures made the right choice of serving Yahweh willingly. Of course, the difference between the angelic beings and mankind is that, one is created to be the bond-servants of God; the other to be the children of God. One is accepted through OBEDIENCE as servants, the other is accepted through the BLOOD (of God's Only Son) as children.
The first four SEALS deal with the Four Horsemen. These four living creature were God's "counter action" against the devils assault on the Church. The first Horse rider on a white horse had a bow but no arrow. This Horse represented deception. Not long after the first Church Age begun, the spirit of anti-Christ came into the church and brought false doctrines such as the trinity. God sent forth the "Lion" spirit into the Church. That Lion spirit roared forth to the Church to stay with the Original Word.
As time went on and the second, third & fourth Church Ages come in, we see the same rider but this time on a different horse, the Red Horse. This horse represented the killing of the millions of true believers who would be killed. To counter-act this, God sent forth the spirit of the Ox. The Ox is a submissive animal. This spirit caused the believers to submit to the will of God and proudly give their lives for the faith. You can read many testimonies in Foxes Book Of Martyrs.
As we come into the fifth Church Age, we see the Black Horse. Actually this Horse had already began its course in the previous Age but really came to a head in this one. This horse represented death, famine, disease and starvation. This perfectly describes the dark ages. God sent forth the Man spirit to counter-act Satan's scheme. The "MAN" represents God again using a man to fight against the anti-Christ spirit. This man was the Messenger to that Age, Martin Luther. God also used other men to fight the enemy, such as John Calvin, John Knox, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe & John Huss.
Now we come the seventh Church age, the Laodicean, our Age. The Horse for this Age is the Pale Horse. This Horse is a combination of the other three. It represents what the other three did as well as compromise. It represented not only physical death but spiritual death as well. But thanks be to God, He did not leave the Church unarmed. He sent forth the Eagle spirit which is in the Bride today. The Eagle flies higher than any other bird, it sees farther, it eats only fresh meat. This perfectly represents the Bride today. The Eagle spirit has lifted her up high above the clouds of confusion, she sees deep into the Word, she feasts only on the fresh manna from heaven. HALLELUYAH!!!
To people such as Billy Graham, John Hagee and other big name preachers, the Revelation of the Church Ages, the Four Horsemen and other things of the book of Revelation is far from them. So don't be deceived, the Four Horsemen are not coming sometime in the distant future, THEY'VE ALREADY COME! You are living under the Pale Horse right now. You can clearly see everywhere. There is no more right, no more wrong, just a compromised state of confusion. Laodicea portrays this age perfectly. Everybody has a "right". Get in while there is still time. The door is being shut.
These Seven Ages simply refer to that space of time wherein God gives the Gentiles (apart from the Jews) an opportunity to hear the Gospel - the Good News of Salvation through our Lord. This "space of time" is divided into "Seven" phases or Ages which is simply called "Church" Ages - each with it's own Messenger and Message from the Word of God, showing what our Lord is doing in Grace and/or Judgment in a particular Age. In every Age, the predestinated Sons and Daughters of God always recognized their day, their Messenger and the Message. We hope you have received a blessing from this.