Monday, May 30, 2011

There are: Seven Churches, but Eight Spiritual Eras, referenced within the scriptures.

Illustation to Book of RevelationImage via Wikipedia
Yahshua amidst The Lampstands.
In the first three chapters of The Book Of Revelation, we find the symbolism of: Seven Churches, Seven Lamp Stands, Seven Stars, and Seven Angels. With Seven, being: " The Number Of Completion. " But, what do these symbols honestly mean? And precisely, who is Yahshua truthfully speaking to? Religious Scholars, Biblical Theologians, and Spiritually-Minded Laymen have often: pondered, written about, and speculated upon, these very symbols for countless generations.

Incredibly, each successive generation has drawn: more profound and [even] greater meaning from These First Three Chapters of Revelation! How is such Expanded Meaning and Increased Understanding even possible? It is now becoming quite obvious, to many of us, that: " All Of The Scriptures [ See: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Proverbs 30:5-6, and Mathew 4:4 ] " were very precisely written - to convey Multiple Levels of Meaning, and to promote Deeper Spiritual Understanding.


While The Messages provided to these Seven Early Churches were undoubtedly tailored to their own specific spiritual needs, The Exact Sequence  in which they were given also clearly documents The Ongoing History Of The Church, as a whole. Moreover, The Eighth Spiritual Era - which immediately follows them all - is Extremely Important as well. Just consider, The Following Sequence....

I. Ephesus [ The Loveless Church ]:
" 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; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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. " - Revelation 2:2-5.
Ephesus ruinsImage via Wikipedia
The Historic Ruins in Ephesus.
While The First Church Era was noted as being ' A Time Of Explosive Growth ' - for this relatively new offshoot of Judaism - much of that new growth came at the very real expense of incorporating Pagan: Beliefs, Teachings, and Practices into these earliest churches. Thus, they sacrificed their ' Love For The Truth ' in their overly zealous efforts to spread The Gospel Message. Moreover, their own failure at heeding this message led to the very next Church Era.


II. Smyrna [ The Persecuted Church ]:
" 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 [ The Mithraist Cult in Rome ]. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil [ Its Spiritual Leader ] is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days [ Prophetically Ten Years ]. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you The Crown Of Life. " - Revelation 2:9-10.
The Second Church Era was characterized by: Steady Growth, Persecution, and [ even ] Suffering. Initially at the hands of The Known Pagans, and later by The Church In Rome itself... exactly as this historical prophecy so clearly describes. The Ten Years Of Outright Persecution is also historically documented. The Roman Catholic Church was a stickler for keeping its own: Highly-Accurate and Well-Detailed Records.


III. Pergamos [ The Compromising Church ]:
" I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is [ Inside The Territories Controlled By Rome ]. And you hold fast to My name [ And yet, you still obey Me ], and did not deny My faith [ The Proper Teachings ] even in the days when Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold The Doctrine Of Balaam [ Seeking After Money ], who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel [ In Order, That I Might Curse Them ], to eat things sacrificed to idols [ Swine's Flesh ], and to commit sexual immorality [ A Gospel Of Unrestrained Licentiousness ]. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of The Nicolaitans [ A Priestly Caste System - which lords over the others ], which thing I hate. " - Revelation 2:13-15.
In The Third Church Era, the Abominable Corruptions of Catholic Rome were then being spread throughout all of Christianity. It's Cardinals and Bishops were attempting to assert their ' Self-Proclaimed Spiritual Authority ' over every other church within The Conquered Roman Territories. Since they didn't yet possess Absolute Roman Authority, they frequently utilized money as a method to subjugate the competing churches.

Whenever possible, however, they merely claimed certain ' Hierarchical Authorities ' - which never scripturally existed. It had the advantage of being far cheaper than bribes; and occasionally worked, as well. Meanwhile, as more and more churches fell under ' The Non-Scriptural Hierarchy In Rome ', an increasing level of peer pressure could be brought to bear - upon those who still rejected Her Manipulative Spiritual Guidance. Thus, she eventually conquered the churches of The Third Spiritual Era.


IV. Thyatira [ The Corrupt Church ]:
" I know your works, love, service, faith and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman [ That Church ] Jezebel [ The Mother Of Harlots ], who calls herself a prophetess [ who claims to speak for God ], to teach and beguile My servants [ To Improperly Instruct and Confuse Them ] to commit sexual immorality [ Practice Licentiousness ] and to eat things sacrificed to idols [ Swine's Flesh ]. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death [ The Plague ]. 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. " - Revelation 2:19-23.
The Fourth Church Era was known for its utter wickedness and spiritual corruptions. The [now dominant] Church Hierarchy In Rome was openly practicing every form of Sexual Immorality. Even Orgies, in The Vatican itself, were blatantly practiced upon a consistent and regular basis. Interestingly enough, ' The Bubonic Plague ' swept The Entire Continent Of Europe; and into every adjacent land where Roman Catholicism was then being practiced. Tens Of Millions perished during this historical period of rampant and spreading sickness.
{ *** NOTE: This was ' A Lesson Of Disobedience '! }

V. Sardis [ The Dead Church ]:
" I know your works, that you have a name [ That You Call Yourself A Church ] and that you are alive [ You Most Certainly Exist ], but you are dead [ But, I Find You Personally Unacceptable ]. Be watchful [ Pay Attention ], and strengthen the things which remain [ What Little You Possess ], that are ready to die [ Few Understand Such Things ], for I have not found your works perfect before God [ There Is More That You Can Do ]. Remember therefore how you have received and heard [ Through Studying The Scriptures Alone ]; hold fast [ Continue To Study Them ] and repent [ Seek Out The True Path ]. 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. You have a few names even in Sardis [ In Your Generation ] who have not defiled their garments [ By Following After The Pagans ]; And they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. " - Revelation 3:1-4.
 In The Fifth Church Era, ' True Worship ' - or " Worship In Spirit and In Truth " - was very nearly dead within Christendom. The Roman Catholic Church, which now dominated all of the established churches, had so thoroughly corrupted them - as to make them completely unrecognizable to Yahweh. However, ' A Faithful Remnant ' still existed amidst this spiritual sea of confusion... and they did so by studying The Scriptures entirely for themselves. For, these churches truly were: " Dead "....


VI. Philadelphia [ The Faithful Church ]:
" 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 [ You have worked yourself until exhaustion ], have kept My word [ You have put into practice, what you have learned ], and have not denied My name [ And you have been extremely faithful to Me ]. Indeed, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan [ The Roman Catholic Church ], who say they are Jews and are not, but lie [ Who Lay False Claims to Abraham's Root ] - indeed, I will make them to come and worship before your feet [ Their nations shall be subjected to yours ], and to know that I have loved you [ To see that I have blessed you, in spiritual obedience ]. 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 upon the earth. " - Revelation 3:8-10.
The Sixth Church Era was that of: " The Protestant Reformation "; and ' Total World Dominance ' by the physical nations who both: Protected and Encouraged It. The Protestant Nations were blessed: Politically, Militarily, Technologically, Economically, Financially, and Spiritually. They enjoyed greater: Freedom, Stability, and Wages - than The Roman Catholic Countries - just as this prophesy had assured that they would. Their ongoing efforts toward ' Understanding And Obedience ' had been abundantly rewarded! And, more importantly, the most obedient nations became the most affluent of them all....
{***NOTE: This was ' A Lesson Of Obedience '!}

VII. Laodicea [ The Lukewarm Church ]:
" I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish that you were either cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth [ You shall no longer speak for Me ]. 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 - I counsel you to buy from Me, gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. " - Revelation 3:15-19.
The Seventh Church Era was characterized by The Mainstream Churches codifying and solidifying their spiritual gains into their [ by now ] Established Traditions. As each of them, reached their own personally acceptable levels of reformative complacency, they refused to move any further in their ongoing relationship with God. While some of them continued to press forward, an ever increasing majority grew more and more spiritually stagnant.

However, In The Mid To Late 1880's, the last of these groups still pressed onward.... This was known, as: " The Millerite Movement... " and even it, hit its own personal ' Glass Ceiling ' - with the announcement of: " The 1888 Message of Sanctification and Holiness "... at which point, this prophecy was ultimately fulfilled; and " Laodicea was [ finally ] spewed out of His mouth.... "

As the scriptures have, so definitively, declared: " Babylon The Great [ Christianity ] is now fallen... Is fallen That Great City [ The City Of Spiritual Confusion ] "... " And no one can revive her [ For Yahweh has Himself foresaken her ]! " Meanwhile, The Holy Spirit is calling to All Of God's Children: " Come Out Of Babylon, My People, Lest You Share In Her Plagues... For her sins have reached up unto heaven and Yahweh has remembered her iniquities. "

By 1900, even those who had [ half-heartedly ] accepted Yahweh's Own Feasts - such as The Worldwide Church Of God - had solidified and codified their Spiritual Gains into their own Humanly Devised Traditions... and thus, the long awaited: " End Time Period ", or " Latter Days " - had finally begun! If you don't believe me, then read Revelation Chapter 4 - which begins with:

VIII. After This [ The Non-Existent Church ]:
" After These Things [ After The Seven Church Eras ] I Looked [ I Saw ], and behold, a door standing open in heaven [ Which Anyone Might Enter, were they so spiritually inclined ]. And the first voice which I heard was like A Trumpet speaking with me, saying, ' Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place After This [ After The Seventh Church Era ]. ' " - Revelation 4:1.

Ahava and Shalom.