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Bible Prophecy: The Seven Letters To The Churches Explained!

 

Looking Deeper At The Rapture And Second Coming Doctrines; Introducing The Night-trib Position!

John, the author of the Seven Letters to the churches (Rev. cs. 2 & 3), may have addressed each letter to their particular communities contemporaneously, but this is doubtful. A more likely scenario is that the Book of Revelation, or some early copies of it were circulated, eventually reaching every city one by one (Rev. 1:11).

In all the letters there is a brief phrase stating, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches." This indicates that each letter wasn't just a message to a particular church, but to all with an inclination to hear truths which aren't easily perceived. Naturally, then, the letters do pertain to the Church today.

The phrase "to him that overcometh" also appears in each letter, which more than conveys the idea that Christians can be victorious, putting aside "every sin that so easily besets us." It is for this reason that the Seven Letters need to be thoroughly analyzed, so that God's message may be biblically extrapolated for today's Church. To this end, John identified several hindrances to the faith in these letters, while prodding the convicted of the Spirit to overcome.

If we astutely look at the Seven Letters, a reference to Christ's return may be found in each of them, including Smyrna, though it may not appear on surface level. Therefore, this fact combined with the fact that none of the original churches exist today, tells us that these letters positively do speak to the end-time Church, and not just to the seven historical churches to which they were addressed.

Christ in prelude of these letters walks among the churches or candlesticks on the Lord's Day (Rev. 1:10), and this, as a High Priest in judgment (Rev. 1:12-18!). Then, and as already emphasized in this book, no longer will the Lord be sitting on His Father's Throne until all enemies become His footstool (Psa. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 1:13). 

Simply put, He will then walk (stand) in judgment of the Church as our saving High Priest. This, then, is further evidence that these letters speak to Christ's initial judgment of the Church in the Day of our Redemption, when He stands at the door hypothetical (James 5:9) of salvation (Matt. 24:33). Indeed, long before Christ returns as a triumphant High Priest and King of Kings at the Second Coming, He will return as our saving High Priest in a prior judgment of the Church.

The book of Revelation with its ingrained futurism also supports the above view. Still, one popular opinion is that these letters represent seven stages of Church history, and not spiritual segments of the Church today. Despite this trend, a simple but principled investigation uncovers the fact that Church stages aren't at all appropriate in understanding the Seven Letters. Now few have ever understood the letters in complete detail, but that shouldn't hinder us from promptly grasping many points.

 

Ephesus' Letter

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; I know thy

works, and thy labour, 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: 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. But this thou hast, that thou

hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I

also hate. 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. (Rev.

2:1-7)

The word "Ephesus" means desirable. Some, then, understand this as the first Church stage, being the birth of historical Church stages in their interpretation of the Seven Letters. As these see it, God desired the Church to come into existence for centuries, and only the letter to Ephesus mentions apostles.

No doubt, God desired the Church to come about for centuries, and the letter to Ephesus does report apostles. But neither of these two points are weighty enough to prove successive Church stages. Averse to that theory is the fact that Ephesus’s letter, as four of the other letters, outright shows a return of Christ (Rev. 2:5, 16, 25, 3:3, 11).

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. (Rev. 2:1)

By Scriptural interpretation, the seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches (Rev. 1:20), or all the Church. The terminology of "candlesticks" in Ephesus’s Salutation, within the time frame of Revelation, chapter one, renews the emphasis of the last time. Sufficient support for this view is the fact that all enemies have become Christ’s footstool, inasmuch that the Lord walks (stands) among the churches in Ephesus’s Salutation.

Ephesus’s Salutation also describes seven stars in Christ’s right hand (this is no mere man), or all the angels as messengers (Rev. 1:20). These are His possession, every one of them. And, as with the message to Sardis, this fact depicts the deity of Christ while specifically identifying the entire Church at the end of this age. As most biblical expositors hold, seven implies perfect completeness.

In itself, the seven candlesticks in conjunction with the seven stars in Christ’s right hand, signify a complete message to the entire Church in the end-time. To suggest as some have, however, that Ephesus’s Salutation characterizes her high stature, is inaccurate, seeing that she presently isn’t desirable by any means. She has left her first love.

Knowing the Truth

I know thy works, and thy labour, 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: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (Rev. 2:2-3)

Early on, Ephesus knew how to distinguish a lie from "the truth." As a result, she knew the benefits of faith that works by love (Gal. 5:6-7). Actually, love became knitted to her faith some thirty years before receiving John’s letter (Eph. 1:13-15). It was by knowing "the truth" of the Scripture that Ephesus confronted certain self-proclaimed leaders, who, feigning themselves as apostles, wanted to exercise authority over them. As already demonstrated, "truth," also meaning "love" in the New Testament, is the opposite of a lie. Later, we will see the importance of the term "liars" in knowing exactly who the Nicolaitanes of this message were, and who they are today.

The Lord knew historical Ephesus’s works, labor, and patience. Christ is omniscient. He sees and knows all things. Hence, He notes that historical Ephesus was a "real winner" for the sake of the Gospel, and points out her every good trait.

Now days, when it comes to the spreading of the Gospel, the Church also is a "real winner." Still, like Ephesus of old, today we often forget the actual reason for our labor, which isn’t just to win souls, but to augment the fruit of the Gospel toward others. In other words, we are not to forget to proffer love in the supplying of many diversified people-needs, for such is very much a part of the real Gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18). And this, historical Ephesus became acutely aware of, just as Christ stressed in His following rebuke:

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from where 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. (Rev. 2:4-5)

The letter to Ephesus doesn’t disclose what the first works are. Furthermore, a Bible study on the words "first works" would prove unfruitful, since the "first works" aren’t written as such anywhere else in the Bible. So then, how does anyone repent and do the "first works," especially when the biblical definition of the "first works" easily eludes us? By faith, "His rest" becomes obtained by the Gospel that we heard from the beginning (Heb. 4:1-10; 1 John 2:24). The Word heard from the beginning more than encompasses love from the beginning (1 John 2:7-9). Thus, the first works, or the use of Christ’s godly love from the very beginning of one’s conversion (Col. 1:4-6; also see Eph. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:16, 2:20).

John wrote, "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1 John 3:11). Biblically, there really is a way of working works "in God" (John 3:21), or partaking of the "first works" of God. And this historical Ephesus did from the beginning, by personally knowing the joy that only an inner Christ and His love for others can bring. Sadly, it was from this lofty state from which historical Ephesus fell.

Fact-wise, Ephesus of yesterday was astute in spiritual knowledge, yet there is a vast difference from hearing the Word, compared to that of doing the Word. Likewise, there is a vast difference from knowing that we should love, compared to participating in love. Today, many Christians don’t know or even realize, that:

1.) Christ, upon our conversion, begins within us as a seed (1 John 3:9).

2.) That this very same Christ, as a seed within us, is to grow (2 Thess. 1:2-3).

3.) That upon growth through faith that works by love, and servitude of others, Christ can do more than we can ask or think, "according to the power that worketh within us" (Eph. 3:17-20).

4.) That the Grace of God is never given without inner godly faith and love.

5.) That our joy and strength from the Lord, before anything else, depends on the use of His inner love for others.

In the letter to Ephesus, there is a clear message to all; all must continue to do the "first works" of preferring others first: "Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." In plainer words, the candlestick of Ephesus’s literal redemption can be removed from its proper place if she doesn’t repent and do the first works.

If such be the case, Ephesus of today will endure a greater part of the Tribulation. What comes to mind, then, is that end-time Ephesus is in danger of joining the foolish of the parable, who, by losing their lamplight (1 John 2:10), remained behind in despair (Matt. 25:1-13). For which reason, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the direct exegetical context of reaping eternal life, all tell us ". . . the first shall be last, and the last first" (Matt. 19:30; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30).

How is faith that works by love further known as the "first works" in Ephesus’s letter? The evident reason is that Ephesus didn’t receive praise for either in this letter, as she did earlier in the book of Ephesians (Eph. 1:15). Surely the demonstration of faith and love, the truth (Gal. 5:5-6), can’t be missing in any well-rounded church; that is, if a first love for Jesus is to be maintained.

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes which I also hate. (Rev. 2:6)

The deeds of the Nicolaitanes correlate to the Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes in Revelation 2:15. There, in the letter to Pergamos, Christ altogether hated the Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. Comparably, Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes and could "not bear them which are evil."

"Nicolas" means "ruler," or "conqueror of the people." To refresh our memories, it was by knowing "the truth" of the Scripture that Ephesus confronted certain self-proclaimed leaders, who, calling themselves apostles, wanted to exercise undue authority over them. Now days, the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans is to establish sole authority over congregations, falsely proclaiming "the true Church" etc. "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes which I also hate" (Rev. 2:6).

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that over cometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)

Christ’s promise to Ephesus is that the faithful will eat of the Tree of Life. This is just another way of saying that all who do His commandments will have access to the Heavenly City (Rev. 22:14). Factually, all of the redeemed will partake of the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:2), not just the faithful of Ephesus. In sum, this message is to all in the end-time Church who need to turn to faith that works by love, the complete and entire fulfilling of the Law of God (Gal. 5:14); or all who need to become faithful in over coming the flesh. Indeed, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev. 21:7).

(We Answer Bible Prophecy Questions: midnightscrybook@aol.com)

 

The Midnight Cry found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:6) symbolizes the beginning of a new day—namely, the Day of the Lord. Or the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:6, 10; 2 Thess. 2:3), being again, the Day of our Redemption (Eph. 4:30). Thus, the book name: Midnight's Cy (now revised as Get Ready),  which addresses the issues of Christianity, while mixing the understanding of end-time events with sound doctrine and biblical preparedness, and this according to detailed Bible prophecy. Simply, if the entire Church were to go up in an automatic at-once Rapture, why then the command of Jesus to pray always to escape all these things that are coming upon the world (Luke 21:34-36)?

 

Moreover, if the chapter division is removed between 1st Thessalonians 4 & 5, we don’t see an at-once pre-trib Rapture, but a return of Jesus Christ within the Day of the Lord, which in that passage, Paul describes as the birth pangs of That Day, or the Tribulation period mentioned by our Lord (Matt. 24:8). Additionally, we immediately behold the "times and seasons," and Christians are then told to watch (1 Thess. 5:6). Yet the world will face "sudden destruction," which in the Greek means "inescapable destruction," and this, as the Day progresses until the Second Coming dawn (2nd Pet. 1:19). Then, at that time God, who is Christ, returns with all of those who sleep in Jesus, and "all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude vs. 14).

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 The seven messages to the churches more than fall in line with the Night-trib position of detailed Bible prophecy!

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