This 7 Churches of Revelation end times prophecy study exposes the deception which causes Christians to not understand that Jesus message was prophetically speaking to the 7 church eras which would occur until His second coming.
Most pastors teach that Jesus was just addressing the churches that existed at the time it was written in 95 A.D.
But Jesus clearly tells us that the prophetic events which He describes would begin to take place in the near future.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things which must shortly take place.” Revelation 1:1
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
This tells us that He wasn’t merely writing to the present churches, but that He was telling us what would happen in the future to church eras that bore their name.
Think about it…
If Jesus’ council only applied to the seven churches current state, that would mean that He had nothing to say to His church that has spanned for nearly 2,000 years.
Do you really think that our Lord would have nothing to say to His church, to help them endure persecutions from the Jews, the Romans and the Roman Catholic Church?
Do you really think that our Lord would not mention the Dark Ages where the Word of God was suppressed, burned and almost eliminated?
Or the 1,260 years of Great Tribulation when the Catholic Church killed over 50 million Christians, whom they deemed ‘heretics‘?
Or the Protestant Reformation which shined as a light with the pure gospel of Jesus, and birthed the Protestant Churches that most Christians now attend.
Or the Great Awakening where worldwide missions saved many millions of people?
This end times study will show you the historical fulfillment of Jesus prophetic words to the 7 churches of Revelation.
You will see how the battle between good and evil, Jesus vs. Satan, has played out as Jesus’ church has been opposed by Satan’s influence over evil empires.
When the church is shining brightly in the world, the darkness of evil is held at bay. But when the church falls away from declaring the light of Jesus, evil prevails.
The Church of Ephesus era occurred from 33-100 A.D.
The word Ephesus means “to relax from effort,” which matches Jesus admonishment to them, to return to the first works of faith and love, with zeal and fervor.
Note: You will see a pattern of the church name corresponding to their spiritual state.
Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:”
In the book of Revelation, Jesus consistently takes something physical and symbolically relates it to something spiritual. The Menorah had seven candles, and it represented the light of God in the physical temple. Now Jesus light shines through His church, which is the Temple of God.
In Revelation 1:20, Jesus told us that “the seven candlesticks (lampstands) which thou saw are the seven churches.” This will be very important when we cover the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11
Revelation 2:2, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;”
To the Ephesians in Acts 20:29, Paul said “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”
But these things didn’t just happen in the church in Ephesus, as the churches in Jerusalem, Corinth, Galatia, and elsewhere, had to identify false apostles.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” Galations 3:1,
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” 1 John 2:18-19
The church was growing rapidly, and the Jews of the Synagogue of Satan sought to persecute the disciples, and to change the beliefs of new converts.
Revelation 2:3, “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”
The Apostles spread the gospel in many countries and planted new churches, which required a lot of patience. They were burdened by opposition, and many were persecuted and killed.
They went from a golden time of the church growing, to persecution from the Jews and Romans. All of the Apostles except John had been killed by a violent death, which no doubt was disheartening to the church.
- In 44 A.D, King Herod Agrippa started persecuting Christians.
- In 64 A.D., the Great fire of Rome was blamed on Christians, and during the 1st Roman Persecution, Nero executed thousands of Christians.
- It is believed that both the Apostles Peter and Paul were executed under the persecution by Nero
- In 81 A.D., during the 2nd Roman Persecution under Domitian, Christians were killed in Coliseums by gladiators and lions.
Despite all of the afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions, the church bore them with constancy and cheerfulness, and were not moved by them.
Revelation 2:4, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
Many of them expected Jesus to return after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., so they may have relaxed their efforts.
Churches can become busy with many things, while losing their primary calling, to be of one heart and soul in loving and worshiping their Lord, and to serve each other in love.
Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”
Return to the first works of faith and love, with zeal and fervor, which will show the repentance to be sincere and genuine.
Revelation 2:6, “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
They bore a hatred of the filthy and impure practices of some men called “Nicolaitans”; who committed fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness, and ate things offered to idols.
The Nicolaitans may have promoted church hierarchy, where clergy improperly ruled over lay people, like the Jewish priests of Jesus time, and the forthcoming Catholic Church.
Revelation 2:7, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘
Application to today: This same principle applies to us today. The church believed that Jesus would return soon, so they relaxed their efforts. Because today’s church has been taught that it will be raptured before tribulation, it has relaxed, many Christians are lukewarm, and Jesus said that He would vomit them out of His mouth.
The Church of Smyrna era, the Persecuted Church, occurred from 100-313 A.D.
The name Smyrna comes from the word “myrrh” which is a tree resin with a bitter taste that was crushed and used in perfume, in incense, and as a preservative in burial. It’s a symbol of death, which is appropriate for this church era.
Jesus had nothing about which to reprimand the church; He had only words of encouragement and comfort in her sufferings at the hands of her persecutors.
The early church was expanding rapidly, especially during the second century in Rome, so Satan instigated the Jews and Romans to persecute Christians, to try to stop the progress of the Gospel.
Revelation 2:8, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life.”
Because many in this church era faced martyrdom, Jesus reminded them of the promise that because He was resurrected, they will be resurrected also. This helped them endure the trials, with the hope of a greater glory.
Revelation 2:9, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
Suffering purifies the church, and even in the midst of their trials, persecutions, and poverty, these Christians faithfully served the Lord.
All of the churches suffered, not just Smyrna, so it was the time period of the church that Jesus was addressing, not just one church in one city.
The church of Jesus was hated in the Roman Empire, and every natural calamity, whether flood, earthquake or drought, was blamed on the Christians and on their refusal to worship the Roman gods.
The Jews, who Jesus said were of the Synagogue of Satan, hated the Christians, especially Polycarp, the leader of the Church at Smyrna, and they assisted in his being killed by the Romans in 155 A.D.
Satan caused the Jews to cast some of the Christians into prison by falsely accusing them before the Emperors. To take the heat off of themselves, these unsaved Jews betrayed the Christians and turned them over to those who wanted to kill them.
The Empire went through many phases of demanding that the Christians sacrifice unto the Roman Emperor or gods — which meant denying their faith — or be killed. They were burned as torches and killed by wild animals in the Coliseums.
The Ephesus church era endured the first two Roman persecution periods which took place before 100 A.D.
The church era of Smyrna endured eight persecution periods from the Roman Emperors:
- The Third Persecution occurred under Trajan in 108 A.D.
- The Fourth Persecution occurred under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus in 162 A.D.
- The Fifth Persecution commencing with Severus in 192 A.D.
- The Sixth Persecution occurred under Maximus in 235 A.D.
- The Seventh Persecution occurred under Decius in 249 A.D.
- The Eighth Persecution occurred under Valerian in 257 A.D.
- The Ninth Persecution occurred under Aurelian in 274 A.D.
Revelation 2:10, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The most terrible, most prolonged persecution in the history of the early church occurred during the Tenth Persecution, as Diocletian sought to root out Christianity from the very face of the earth, from 303-313 A.D.
The “ten days” of tribulation that Jesus prophetically spoke of were 10 years of the Diocletianic Persecution where so many saints were martyred.
In 312 A.D, Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity, and then in 313 A.D., the Edict of Milan ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
These are the martyrs that Jesus referred to during the fifth seal of Revelation.
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:9-11
The next group of martyrs (their fellow servants and their brethren) were killed during the reign of the Antichrist beast, the Roman Catholic Church from 538-1798 A.D.
Revelation 2:11, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
Many were called upon to seal their testimony in blood, keeping in mind that Jesus shared the same fate, and knowing that He would raise them up to glory.
The Church of Pergamos era occurred from 313-538 A.D.
Revelation 2:12, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword.“
The only weapon this church era or any Christian has to defeat the spiritual enemy is the Sword, the Word of God.
Revelation 2:13, “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
The name Pergamos in Greek means, “Married to the tower.”
Pagan worship originated in Babylon, where the tower represented their rise to become gods.
When the Medo-Persians conquered Babylon, the Babylonian priests moved to Pergamos and established a place of Satanic cultic idolatry, pagan worship, with various customs and deities.
So Pergamos is a perfect symbolic name for this church age, as Mystery Babylon, the Antichrist Catholic Church, who exalt themselves above all that is called God, rose to power during this time.
Satan couldn’t destroy Jesus’ church with ten persecutions from Pagan Rome, so he changed his strategy to destroy it from within, through Papal Rome.
When the Roman Empire fell, Satan empowered the Catholic Church in its place.
Paul had warned the church that when he (the Roman Emperors) were removed, then Antichrist would be revealed.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”
So it’s not the Holy Spirit being removed during a supposed end times seven year tribulation, as many pastors teach. God destroyed the Roman Empire and in the vacuum, the Roman Catholic Church was empowered.
If it was the Holy Spirit, then Paul would have just said that plainly. But because they were under Roman authority, he hid who he was talking about, so that the church would understand, but the Romans would not, thus avoiding undue persecution.
John had said that it came out of them. Paul said that it is already at work. This means it existed in the first century, and was able to rise to power in the vacuum of the collapsed Roman Empire.
‘Antipas‘ could have been a pastor who was martyred, but based on the name, it most likely represent a class of people who opposed the power of the Roman Catholic bishops or popes.
Antipas is the contraction of Antipater, and is the same with Antipapas.
Anti=against, papas=father or pope.
As the Papal Church rose to power and claimed to be Christian, the leaders of the true church of Jesus opposed it, and were persecuted and martyred.
Revelation 2:14-15, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
Satan caused Constantine to unite Christianity with pagan idol worship and feasts, and fornication.
Pagan Rome had many gods and idols, which they weren’t going to give up. So to make Satan’s Papal Church more acceptable to them, the church took the idols and simply gave them new names.
Jupiter is the Roman name for the Greek Zeus, the god of the sky, so the statue of Jupiter was renamed St. Peter.
Venus is the Roman name for the Greek Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, so the statue of Venus was renamed Mary.
This way they didn’t have to discard their idols, and the idol makers stayed in business.
Jesus church was being tempted to worship idols and commit spiritual fornication, and to support a system of clergy. The carnality of the Roman Empire deceived the church like Balak deceived Israel of old.
By the end of the 5th century, the following unscriptural doctrines and practices had become deeply rooted in the church which called itself Christian:
- Prayers for the dead.
- The forty-day Lenten season.
- Purgatory, where souls are purified after death before they can enter heaven.
- The veneration of martyrs and saints, and above all the adoration of Mary.
- Gorgeous vestments for the clergy – gold, pearls, etc.
- More and more elaborate and splendid ritual.
- Persecution of heathen and heretics.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans also advocated the establishment of a religious heirarchy involving bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes. Their primary purpose was to establish a professional clergy that would rule over the laity.
This is in opposition to what Paul taught regarding the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:12-13
Jesus’ church fell away from truth. Apostolic doctrine was disregarded and the traditions of men replaced the laws of God. The Babylonian Mystery religion began to replace true Christianity.
Revelation 2:16. “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”
The sword of My mouth, is the spoken Word of God, which He would use to fight against the Balaamites and Nicolaitans, for their idolatry and uncleanness.
Revelation 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
The fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Antichrist Catholic Church marked the beginning of the Dark Ages.
The era of the Church of Thyatira, the Pagan Church 538-1514 A.D.
Thyatira means “ruled by a woman,” which is the perfect name because this era was ruled by the Mother church of Papal Rome, who is the Great Harlot of Revelation, the Whore of Babylon.
In 538 A.D., they gained religious and civil power when Emperor Justinian issued a decree making the Pope head of all churches.
Revelation 2:18-19, “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.”
Their faithfulness in the cause of God, and of patience in suffering for the Gospel of Christ, were most prominent towards the end of this era, when many were martyred and the Protestant Reformation was birthed.
The Papal Church sought to eliminate the Word of God and the true Christians, and as this happened, the world became a very dark place where evil prevailed.
During this church age and the next, Papal Rome tortured and killed over 50 million people they deemed heretics, most from Christ’s true church.
Note: Satan still uses these killings to repel people from Christianity, as they have been led to believe that Christians caused the deaths, instead of understanding that it was Satan’s false church who committed them against true Christians. Satan indeed is the Great Deceiver.
Several people groups boldly proclaimed Jesus gospel, declared that the pope was antichrist, that his government was tyrannical, and his doctrines the doctrines of devils.
Peter Waldo, a native of Lyons, eminent for his piety and learning, advocated an adherence to the Gospel as taught by Jesus, and became a strenuous opposer of popery; and from him the reformed, at that time, received the name of Waldenses or Waldoys.
By 1140 A.D., the number of the reformed became very great, and the probability of its increasing alarmed the pope, who wrote to several princes to banish them from their dominions, and employed many learned men to write against their doctrines.
In 1147 A.D., Pope Alexander III excommunicated Waldo and his adherents, and commanded the bishop of Lyons to exterminate them from the face of the earth.
A group of people called the Albigenses preached the pure Gospel and testified against Papal Rome.
In 1208 A.D., the Albigenses, were condemned by order of Pope Alexander III. Despite persecution, they increased so prodigiously, that whole cities were saved, and several eminent noblemen embraced their doctrines.
In 1215 A.D., the Papal Inquisition was established, as the Albigenses movement was declared heretical. One hundred and fifty thousand persons perished by the Inquisition in thirty years.
God had entrusted a group of people called the Vaudois to protect and preserve His Word.
In 1229 A.D., the Papal Synod of Toulouse forbid reading or owning a Vaudois Bible. The Inquisition killed 32,000 Albigenses at Toulouse.
In 1234 A.D., the Papal Council of Tarragona said that no Bible was permitted in one’s native tongue, and that all of them must be burned. And along with them, many owners were burned as well.
In 1371 A.D., Jesus inspired John Wycliffe to write the Bible in English.
In 1408 A.D., to counter Wycliffe’s Bible, at the Papal 3rd Synod of Oxford it was established that is a heresy to have an “unauthorized” English Bible.
In 1487 A.D., Pope Innocent VIII promised to forgive the sins of anyone who kills Vaudois “heretics’, causing them to be hunted down and systematically exterminated.
Do you see the battle between good and evil, Christ’s Church and the Papal false Church, taking place though history?
Revelation 2:20, “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
Obviously Jezebel did not live during this time, but her spirit was alive and well in Papal Rome.
Bible commentator John Gill said:
By her is meant the apostate church of Rome, comparable to Jezebel, the wife of Ahab; as she was the daughter of an Heathen, so is Papal Rome the daughter of Pagan Rome.
and as she was the wife of Ahab, and therefore a queen, so the whore of Babylon calls herself;
and as Jezebel was famous for her paintings, so the church of Rome for her pretensions to religion and holiness, and for the gaudiness of her worship;
and as she was remarkable for her idolatry, whoredoms, witchcrafts, and cruel persecution of the prophets of the Lord, and for murder, and innocent blood she shed;
so the church of Rome, for her idolatrous worship of images, for her whoredoms, both in a literal and spiritual sense, and for the witchcrafts, magic, and devilish arts many of her popes have been addicted to, and especially for her barbarities and cruelties exercised upon the true professors of Christ, and for the blood of the martyrs, with which she has been drunk;
and as Jezebel stirred up Ahab against good and faithful men, the Papal church stirred up the secular powers, emperors, kings, and princes, against the true followers of Christ:
and the end of both of them is much alike; as scarce anything was left of Jezebel, so Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, shall be cast into the sea, and be found no more at all:
Papal Rome had seduced God’s servants to commit fornication; to deceive such who called themselves the servants of Christ, and draw them into the commission of spiritual fornication, which is idolatry; as the idolatrous worship of the Mass, and of images and saints departed.
Revelation 2:21, “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.”
The Catholic Church had witnessed God’s judgment against Pagan Rome and the Roman Empire, but she did not heed it.
The Waldenses and Albigenses testified against her idolotry, but she did not repent.
Revelation 2:22-23, “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”
During the Dark Ages, the Papal Church was scourged by God with the plague of The Black Death beginning in 1347 A.D., and an estimated 23 million people died. One historian estimated that a third of the world died.
Revelation 2:24, “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.”
Jesus was speaking to those who had not embraced this doctrine of the anti-christian church of Rome, concerning infallibility, the worshiping of images, transubstantiation, etc.
The Papal Church entices people to seek their doctrine of deep things, of the tree of knowledge, the great mysteries. Christ calls them the devil’s mysteries, the deep things of Satan.
Revelation 2:25-28, “But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations– ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’– as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.”
How prophetic are Peters words, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19
During the latter part of this church era, Jesus raised up faithful people like Wycliffe, who was called the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation’.
Wycliffe spoke out against the doctrine of Transubstantiation, the main teaching of the Catholic Church that symbolically removes the efficacy of Christ’s one sacrifice for sin.
He stood out as a bright light in the dark world which was controlled by Papal Rome, and sparked a revolution that would cause the Bible and the gospel to be spread all over the world.
The ‘rod of iron’ is the Word of God. The Papal Church had taken control of the nations, but the light of the Word of God overcame them and moved powerfully in the nations during the Protestant Reformation, which occurs in the next church era.
Revelation 2:29, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The next church era is Sardis, which is called the Dead Church, but first let’s see how the prophecies of the Little Book in Revelation 10 and the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11 are directly related to the church eras of Thyatira and Sardis.
The Little Book of Revelation 10 represents the Word of God which Jesus’ Church used as a measuring rule, to know who is the true church, and to identify the false church, which caused them to testify against the Papal Church.
The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 are not two literal people who come back and are killed. Rather they symbolically represent the testimony of the Word of God and Christ’s Church.
During the Thyatira church era, the Roman Catholic Church had so relentlessly burned the Word of God, and killed Christians, that in 1514, at the Fifth Lateran Council, the council orator exultingly declared: “Now, no one contradicts, no one opposes.” To the Pope he said: “The whole body of Christendom is now seen to be subjected to its head, that is to thee.” He was declaring that Christ’s Church was dead.
And for 3.5 years, there was silence, as nobody testified against them.
Then exactly 3.5 years later, Martin Luther posted his ‘95 Theses‘ on the Wittenberg Church door, which ignited the Protestant Reformation, where millions of people came out of the Papal Church to be saved by the pure Gospel of Jesus.
This caused great fear in the Papal Church, as the testimony of the Two Witnesses was alive again and Jesus was shining His light brighter than ever.
At the same time, Christ used the advent of the printing press and the Bible being translated into English, to cause millions of Bibles to become available, which caused great fear in the Papal Church.
Jesus church eras of Thyatira and Sardis used the rod of iron, the Word of God, to know and testify about the pure gospel of Jesus, instead of salvation by works through the Papal Church.
They are the two lamp stands which stood as a witness against the Antichrist Papal Church during their 1,260 years of reign from 538-1798 A.D.
The Church of Sardis era, the Dead Church, occurred during the 1514 – 1798 A.D.
The meaning of the word “Sardis” is the “escaping one,” or those who “come out,” so it is an excellent symbol of the Church during the Reformation period, when Martin Luther and a number of other reformers protested against the false teaching, tyranny and claims of the Papal Church, and they heeded Jesus command and came out of her.
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4
Note; If you are in a dead church that is under the spell of the deceptions of the Papal Church, you should come out.
Revelation 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”
The city of Sardis was one of the greatest cities in the world, but seven hundred years later, when Revelation was written, it had decayed and was of little importance. It had a big name, but it was dead.
Jesus was symbolically applying this to the state of His church, which had been greatly productive for the kingdom, but now was ineffective.
At this point the church had endured many persecutions from the Papal Church, and no doubt was tired of fighting against it.
And as you just read, even the Antichrist Papal Church pronounced Jesus Church as dead.
Revelation 3:2, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
They didn’t get accused of tolerating the corrupt doctrine of the Nicolaitans, Balaam or Jezebel; because they eventually came to life when in 1517 A.D., Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Church in Wittenberg, which exposed the morally and doctrinally corrupt Catholic Church.
But a worse accusation was that of apathy, of numbness. The church of Jesus had become faint and sickly, without life.
Revelation 3:3, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
Like the Ephesians, the Sardians are reminded of the better condition from which they had receded.
Through Martin Luther and others, they were reminded of justification by the righteousness of Christ, pardon through his blood, and atonement by his sacrifice, doctrines that had been lost.
They had to be reminded about these things, because the Papal Church had forbid them to read the Bible, which caused them to become weak and apathetic.
Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
In 1525 A.D. William Tyndale published the first preserved English New Testament.
To counter that, in 1559 A.D, the Satan-empowered Papal Church at The Council of Trent declared that Preserved Bibles are on the “Index of Forbidden Books.”
Interestingly enough, in 1536 A.D. when Tyndale was being burned at the stake, he cried out “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”
God answered Tyndale’s prayer, as King Henry VIII of England authorized the Great Bible in 1540, and it was read aloud in church services of the Church of England. And then in 1611 A.D. the King James Bible was published.
With the advent of the printing press and the Word of God translated into English, millions of people were finally able to read the Bible.
They found salvation through faith, apart from works, in the pure gospel of Jesus Christ.
Read more about the advent of the printed Bible by clicking on The Little Book of Revelation 10
John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Wesley and many other revered scholars, proclaimed that the Roman Catholic Church is the Antichrist ‘whore of Babylon’, who is guilty of the blood of the saints.
This means that the ‘man of sin‘, the ‘son of perdition‘ referred to in 2 Thes. 2:3, has already been revealed, so we’re not waiting for it to happen in the end times, as so many Pastors teach.
The Protestant Reformers told people to “come out of her” (Rev. 18) and millions left the Roman Catholic Church and received Jesus as their Messiah, which led to the formation of the Protestant churches.
Revelation 3:4, “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.”
Jesus used these excellent men who held to the truth of His doctrine, to shine the light of the love, grace and salvation of Jesus gospel into a dark world.
Martin Luther was a German monk, priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation.
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation.
John Eliot was a missionary who published a Bible in the Algonquian Native Americans’ language, and planted 14+ churches among them.
Sadly, and much to our loss, Christians today aren’t taught about these heroes of the faith. Most don’t even know what the Protestant Reformation was and how it impacts their lives even today.
It was the Protestants of the Reformation, who with the power of the Word of God, overcame the Holy Roman Empire in which the Pope, being head of the church of the civil state, could enforce his anti-biblical doctrine by means of civil law.
They instituted the rule of law, and in America they powerfully shaped the Constitution which was an entirely new kind of government, a representative republic based on the rule of law, the basis of which was the Bible.
Without the Reformation of the sixteenth century, the American Experiment of a new kind of civil government, in which having neither a state church nor a ruler claiming both temporal and spiritual authority, as the Pope does, could not have taken place.
Many immigrants from Europe, England, and Scotland fled to the American colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, because of the terrors that the Roman Catholic Church continued to perpetrate on their homelands.
Revelation 3:5, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
During the era of the Church of Sardis, Satan continued to use the Catholic Church to kill Christians.
Spain especially had her share in the responsibility of this iniquity, for under forty-five Inquisition trials, between the years 1481 and 1808, 31,658 were burnt alive, 18,049 were burnt in effigy, and 225,214 were condemned to galleys or imprisonment.
In 1555, Queen Mary, known as Bloody Mary, restored Roman Catholicism and persecuted Protestants.
In 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre targeted the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants), during the French Wars of Religion. By some it is supposed that at least 100,000 Huguenots suffered death.
In the seventeenth century, the Papacy was heavily invested in “ethnic cleansing” of the Bible-believing Vaudois, or “people of the valleys” of the Cottian Alps.
On 24 April 1655, an estimated 1,700 Waldensians were slaughtered; the massacre was so brutal it aroused indignation throughout Europe.
It is supposed that 50 Million Christians have perished in the Papal Church persecutions of the Waldenses, Albigenses, Bohemian Brethren, Vaudois, Wycliffites, and Protestants.
You can see how the battle of Jesus vs. Satan played out historically during this church era. And you can see why this period is referred to as the time of Great Tribulation.
The Catholic Church continued to persecute Christians, but more importantly, they implemented a new strategy of destroying Christianity by infiltrating it.
This started at the Council of Trent (which took place from 1545-1563 A.D.), where they mapped out their plans:
Since since they could not stop the word of God from spreading worldwide, they took steps to corrupt it. You can read that study by clicking on Satan’s Corrupted Bible Manuscripts
To destroy Christianity, they became as Christians, and infiltrated seminaries and Bible schools, to pervert the Word of God and deceive from within, to corrupt their theology and bring them back to the Mother Church.
They deflected blame from them being accused of being the Antichrist by creating deceptions regarding the fulfillment of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. You can read that study by clicking on The 70th Week Of Daniel is Fulfilled by Jesus Christ NOT the Antichrist
All of these deceptions have grown to epic proportions over time, as most Christians are reading their corrupted Bible versions, and most believe their end-time prophecy deceptions.
In 1798 A.D., Napoleon’s army marched into Rome and captured the Pope, ending the reign of the Papacy, causing a deadly head wound of the beast of Revelation.
The era of the Church of Philadelphia occurred from 1798 – 1866 A.D.
Revelation 3:7-8 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
Jesus did not have one word of condemnation for this church era, only words of praise for their faithful love and service.
His Church started to come back to life during the previous church era, and it gained strength and came fully alive during the era of Church of Philadelphia.
The “open door” was an unprecedented opportunity to preach the gospel throughout the world, to people who were open to receive it and embrace it.
This was the rise of the evangelical church in North America and the British Isles, as they took the word of God to the whole world.
A large number of souls were won to Christ during this time of revival called The Great Awakening, because of the missions of these great men of God:
John Wesley (1703-91) is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement. He and his preachers went about in “circuits”.
George Whitefield (1714-70) was a friend of the Wesley’s and the first open-air preacher. Thousands got saved on two continents.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) was a Christian preacher and theologian, who is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian, and one of America’s greatest intellectuals.
Francis Asbury (1745-1716) was the first of many Methodist “Circuit Riders.” He traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons, despite persecution.
William Carey (1761-1834) was the Baptist father of modern missions. In 1809 he finished the Bengali Bible, and published many more Bibles in other languages. Carey sailed for India, where he found an “open door,” and since then the Lord has opened the door into China, Japan, Korea, India, Africa and the isles of the sea, until there is not a country in the world where the missionary cannot go.
Adoniram Judson (1804-90) was a missionary to the Burmese people, and completed the translation into Burmese.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition and known as the “Prince of Preachers”.
You can see how the era of the Church of Philadelphia shined the light of the Gospel throughout the world.
Revelation 3:9-10, “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
The hour of trial will come upon the last church era of Laodecia, because the Church has fallen away from sound doctrine, and doesn’t understand who the Satan-empowered beast is, so she is exposed to its deception.
Revelation 3:11-13, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The era of the Church of Laodicea, the Lukewarm Church, 1866 A.D. – present
Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.”
Laodicea means “power of the laity,” and it’s a fit description for two reasons:
After the deadly head wound of the Pope in 1798, the Babylonian-based Papal Church was brought back to life by the Jesuits, when in 1929 Mussolini signed a treaty with the Roman Catholic Church giving them political power once again.
Today the Papal Church clergy organizational structure controls 1.2 Billion members, which is 1/6th the world’s population.
Power of the Laity also applies to most Christians churches, that give all the power to the Pastor and some deacons, instead of following Paul’s five-fold ministry pattern.
Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Jesus offered our current church age not one word of commendation, and says that we are lukewarm and self-satisfied.
Timothy warned about this time, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
I pray that after reading about the historical fulfillment of the first six church eras, you realize that we now live in the last church era of Laodicea, and you will understand the force of Jesus words to us and the consequences if we don’t follow His commands.
The flames of the Protestant Reformation and Great Awakening have been quenched.
The passion for winning souls has been passed off to Pastors and missionaries, instead of being borne by the Temple of God, Christians.
Churches have to liven up the worship and arts and teachings, to entertain the church members.
The desire to fight against the Antichrist system has been lost, because the Church doesn’t understand who Mystery Babylon is; instead they think that they will be raptured out before the Antichrist appears, so they can’t fight against it.
The church is compromised in sin, and doesn’t stand out from the rest of the world when it comes to divorce, drinking, watching evil movies, etc.
The church thinks that Satan will prevail in the end times, instead of understanding that Jesus will defeat the enemy through the remnant church.
Around us we see wealthy churches that are void of Christ’s Spirit and power, because they attempt to serve God and Mammon, which is impossible.
Many church leaders like Rick Warren are partnering with the Antichrist Roman Catholic Church in the name of peace.
The church has certainly fallen away from truth and zeal, and it’s first love, Christ.
Revelation 3:17, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Because most Pastors don’t teach that we indeed are in the era of the Church of Laodecia, we never understand the full impact of Jesus words against us.
Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
“Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'”
“And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:21-23
Since the Protestant Reformation, the Jesuits of the Papal Church have infiltrated the church, to deceive it.
Since they couldn’t stop the Word of God from spreading, they infiltrated and created new a revision of the Greek, and then created corrupted Bibles from that.
Read Modern Bible Deception Verse Study
They infiltrated Bible schools and semitaries, to cause them to use their version of the Greek text and their modern Bibles, so as to be deceived.
Read Satan’s Corrupted Bible Manuscripts
They had Jesuit priests create an end-time tribulation period featuring a one-man Antichrist, as to deflect the accusations of the Protestant Reformers.
Read The 70th Week Of Daniel is Fulfilled by Jesus Christ NOT the Antichrist
Their end-times deception causes Christians to believe that they will be raptured out and not have to face tribulation and the beast system.
Read The Pretribulation Rapture Myth
They created the modern state of Israel to deceive Christians about the end times. Read Jews Who Are Not Really Jews
Through the use of social issues, the Roman Catholic Church seeks to draw true Evangelical Bible-believers into itself so that there can be no opposition by them on the fundamental issues of the authority of the Bible alone and the Gospel.
Popular Pastors like Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah and John MacArthur, teach prophecy concepts that support the Jesuits end-time Antichrist deception.
Most Pastors have been deceived because seminaries have been infiltrated by Jesuits. Read End Times Antichrist Deception
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Most Christians think they know how end times will play out, but they have been blinded by the enemy.
Most Christians are naked, as they are exposed to the lies of the beast, and will be caught off-guard, instead of prepared for Jesus return.
Read all of the deceptions listed on this website and you will see how blind, poor and naked we are.
Friend, we have fallen far away from the Biblical truths and we have failed to identify the enemy, so we have no way to fight against it.
False Prophets have infiltrated churches and seminaries.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
The false gospel of humanism, personal development if you will, is being preached by many pastors such as Joel Osteen.
The mandate of the church is to preach the pure gospel of salvation through Jesus sacrifice, to make disciples who can share the gospel, and to identify false prophets.
It’s not about living your best life now; it’s about living your best life for Jesus now.
Is your Pastor teaching the true fulfillment of prophecy?
Or are they teaching the prophecy explanations from the Antichrist Papal Church?
You need to test what they say against the Word of God.
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
Pray for the Lord to give you eye salve to be able to see the truth. Read the Bible studies on this website to understand the true fulfillment of prophecy.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
“We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ.” Ephesians 4:14
Be clothed with the truth, so you’re not naked when He returns.
Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Jesus closes with a promise to the overcomers.
Revelation 3:19-22, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Will you accept the Lord’s rebuke, repent of your past misunderstandings, and overcome the deceptions of the Antichrist beast, so that you can sit with Jesus?
Or will you be Lukewarm and risk being spit out of Jesus’ mouth?
Satan has prevailed during the last 100 years, as he has caused great deception in the Church.
But as you’ve seen, Christ always prevails over Satan’s plans, and He is raising up a remnant of believers to preach the pure Gospel, to identify false prophets to purify the church, and to oppose the Antichrist beast, the Roman Catholic Church.
And we do that with the power of His Holy Word, which is the rod. Read The Little Book of Revelation 10
We need to learn from what the Lord commanded of the Two Witnesses, to know how to prevail. Read The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11
Here’s a link to a one-page summary of the Seven Church eras, the Little Book and the Two Witnesses of Revelation. Summary PDF