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The Letters to the Seven Churches    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

II.  Letters to the Seven Churches: "What Is Now" (Chaps. 2-3)  

The letters to the seven churches speak the mind of Christ in regard to his judgment of the Church at the time that the letters were written, and continuously up until the end of the Church Age.  They even include the portion assigned to each Church member when Jesus comes to remove the Church from the earth. One of the greatest errors in the interpretation of these letters is to assume that these epistles were written to unbelievers or tares in the Church. Each letter addresses the works of the church being examined. As can be seen from the context of the letters, they were written to the individual believers and the call to repentance is to each and every believer in that Church. The call to repentance is always for individual believers.  

Jesus has something good to say about each church, except for Laodicea. He has something bad to say about each church, except for Smyrna and Philadelphia. The statement to each church, “I know thy works” shows that the issue in question in each letter is the works of Christians and not their spirit salvation. This is especially important to remember when reading the section on having one’s name blotted out of the “Lamb’s book of life” because of unfaithfulness. A Christian cannot lose his spirit salvation—even if he is unfaithful until death. Spirit salvation does not depend upon our faithfulness or our being an overcomer. Spirit salvation depends upon the faithfulness of Jesus and upon him overcoming death and the grave. Consequently, the Lamb’s book of life pertains to works and the reward of the “crown of life”, which pertains to soul salvation. Please read my dissertation To Perish or not to Perish for a detailed explanation of the difference between spirit and soul salvation.  

It is important to note that each letter is addressed to the “angel” of the church being examined. The angel of each church is the messenger to that church, which is the pastor of that church. When God wants to communicate something to a local church body, He generally does so through the pastor of that church. It is very important to understand that all of the commendations, warnings and cautions in these seven letters are for members of the Church.  

A.  The Letter to the Church in Ephesus (2:1-7)  

Rev 2:1-7 (KJV)  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; 2 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: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 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. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7 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.  

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;

a. The seven churches are literal, figurative and prophetic. There were seven literal churches at the time that received these letters, and the characteristics of these churches were just as described in each letter. In addition, these seven letters describe the seven different types of churches that existed from the time that the letters were written up until the end of the Church Age. Also, every Christian would fall into one of these seven categories. In simple terms, these seven churches, in addition to being literal churches, represent the entire body of the Church in all of its history. These are two of the figurative meanings of the seven letters, and there are others. Finally, prophetically, these seven letters describe seven church ages or periods of the Church from the first church age of Ephesus in the first century until the last church age of Laodicea in the twentieth century. The following chart provides a brief summary of these seven churches and the seven church ages: 

Church
Period
Meaning of Name
Character
1. Ephesus
1st Century
To let go, relax
Apostolic, loveless
2. Smyrna
100-312 AD
Myrrh
Persecuted
3. Pergamum
312-606 AD
Married
Compromising, State
4. Thyatira
606-End
Continual Sacrifice
Papal, corrupt, ritual
5. Sardis
1517-End
Remnant
Protestant, dead, formal
6. Philadelphia
1750-End
Brotherly love
Great awakening, faithful
7. Laodicea
1900-End
People's rights
Apostate, lukewarm

b. Jesus is judging the churches during the entire Church age. Each Christian is accountable to God and will be judged for his works at the Judgment Seat of Christ at the end of the Church Age. Jesus walking among the seven lampstands in chapter 1 and in this verse portrays Jesus examining closely all Christians during the Church Age. He is among the churches watching and recording the works of each Christian.  

c. The entire Revelation was sent to each of the seven churches, but each of the seven churches had a portion that specifically pertained to it. The evaluation of each of these seven churches is a picture of how Jesus Christ will judge each Christian at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Some Christians will hear only commendation from Jesus, such as Smyrna and Philadelphia, while other Christians will hear only censure from Jesus, such as Laodicea. The majority of Christians will hear commendation and censure, such as Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira and Sardis.  

d. Each letter has seven distinct parts.  

(1) An address

(2) A citation of one or more of the sublime attributes of the speaker.

(3) An assertion of His complete knowledge of the actions of the ones addressed.

(4) A description of the state of each, including praise, promise, censure and /or admonition.

(5) An allusion to His promised coming, and the character it will assume to the persons described.

(6) A universal command to hear.

(7) A special promise to the victor.

e. The order of succession is changed in the last four where the call to attention is placed after the promise "to him that overcometh."  The reason for this is the last four church ages continue right up until the coming of the Lord and the call to attention is placed last for emphasis.

f. Verse 1 includes the address to Ephesus and the citation to the Church in Ephesus. Jesus specifically states that He holds the seven stars in his right hand, which refers to the pastors of each of these literal churches. The ministerial office of pastor is not lordship but service. He is the chief, guardian, watchman and under-shepherd of the flock. He is accountable to God for his faithfulness to his duties. Jesus also walks among the lampstands, which portrays his keen eye of discernment in judging the churches.  

2. 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:  

a. "I know thy works" is the statement to each church showing His complete knowledge of their works. Remember that the issue in each case is works and NOT spirit salvation.  

b. The remainder of verse 2 through verse 4 shows the state of the church in Ephesus. Ephesus was a hard working church that helped develop patience in the midst of tribulation. The early Church of the First Century is represented by Ephesus, and it was greatly persecuted by the Jews.  

c. There were apparently deceivers that came into this church pretending to be apostles—ones sent by Christ—but Ephesus tested each one to make sure they were truly apostles. Ephesus worked diligently to avoid being deceived by emissaries from Satan.  

3. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

a. Ephesus endured the tribulations put upon it and bore them with patience. Ephesus worked very hard in the name—power and authority—of Jesus Christ and had not grown weary. These are very good commendations from the Lord Jesus Christ to the Christians at Ephesus.  

4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

a. Ephesus was doing everything right except for one thing. Their love for Jesus had diminished. They had great zeal for truth & right, but their love for Christ had entered a fatal decline. They were doctrinally sound, but they had taken their focus off the Bridegroom, the Beloved.

5. 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.

a. The coming has a literal, figurative, and prophetic significance, as it pertains to the literal church at Ephesus, Christians who have the same character as Ephesus and Ephesian Christians who will not be part of the out-resurrection, which means they will not enter the kingdom of heaven and reign and rule with Jesus Christ.  

b. Removing the candlestick means that the Lord will place the church, Christian, or Church Age on the shelf and no longer use it in His work. The admonition is to repent, which is the command to every Christian throughout the Church Age.  

6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

a. The interjection of the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes into the Church was attempted in the first century, but the doctrine did not gain a foothold until the Council of Nicae in 325A.D.  

b. The word “Nicolaitanes” comes from "Niko" meaning to conquer and "Laos" meaning the laity or common people. This false doctrine attempted to establish an order of clergy to control the laity or common people. It is in virtually all denominations today. Any hierarchical order of clergy above the local pastor has fallen victim to this false doctrine. The highest order of authority in the Church is the pastor, and even he is to be a servant and not in a position of lordship.  

7. 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.

a. The universal command to hear what the Spirit says to the churches is the same to all seven, except in the last four churches where it is placed at the very end to emphasize what the Spirit has to say to the churches. This is significant because the last four church periods will overlap and continue up until the return of Jesus Christ. Consequently, it is even more important for the last four churches to hear what Jesus says to the churches. These four churches should be in a better position to hear and understand what Jesus is saying to them.  

b. The seven epistles to the seven churches are seldom read or taught in the church, even though they give specific instructions to the churches on how to live and be faithful Christians. The letters also emphasize the importance of the Second Coming, and this doctrine has been virtually abandoned and denigrated by the end time churches.

B. The Letter to the Church in Smyrna (2:8-11)  

Rev 2:8-11 (KJV) And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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. 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. 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.  

Smyrna means myrrh, an aromatic ingredient for embalming the dead.  The name of this church describes a church persecuted unto death.  It was a church of Myrrh, or bitterness, but was agreeable and precious to the Lord.  There were not a lot of works because of its persecution, being poor, and suffering in tribulation.  This church had great hopes for the coming kingdom after the resurrection.  Polycarp was probably the angel of this Church, and he was burned to death by a group of Jews and Pagans.  The reference to the Synagogue of Satan is probable in reference to this group of Jews in the literal sense and to unfaithful Christians in the prophetic sense.  

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;

a. This includes the address to Smyrna and the citation of the eternality, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The referral to his death and resurrection would be great encouragement to this church suffering great persecution even unto death. Those who are persecuted unto death shall live again, and Jesus reminds this church of this fact.  

b. It is an awesome thought that God came to earth as a man and died for our sins.  

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.

a. This verse alludes to the omniscience of Christ in regard to their works, and it begins with the state of their character.  Even though they are poor, persecuted and in tribulation, Jesus says they are rich.  Literally, Jesus is speaking of their spiritual richness, but prophetically, He is referring to their coming inheritance in the Kingdom Age. Many in the Smyrna church will undoubtedly be among those who attain to the Out-Resurrection at the time of the Firstfruits Rapture.  

b. The persecution by the blaspheming Jews (i.e., Synagogue of Satan) left this church destitute, powerless and crushed, but it was rich in divine grace, pleasing to God and hopeful in the kingdom age to come.  

c. Prophetically, Smyrna represents the Church Age that began under Nero and extended from 100-312A.D. The Smyrna church age ended with the proclamation of Constantine that Christianity was the state religion of Rome.  

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.

a. It is unknown as to the literal fulfillment of the 10 days of persecution referred to for the literal church of Smyrna, but prophetically, it most likely refers to the ten years of terrible persecution commencing from the decree of Diocletian in A.D. 303 to the Constantinian edict of Milan in A.D.313.  This period of ten years was the Church's last and most terrible persecution under heathen Rome, and it ended the Smyrna church age.

b. Literally, those of this church who died as martyrs would win the crown of life at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Figuratively, it refers to those Christians who lose their souls in this life and end up saving their soul for the next life. These are the Christians who enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. Prophetically, it refers to all Christians during the Smyrna Church Age who died in the Roman persecutions.  

c. One does not have to die physically as a martyr to gain the crown of life. This crown is won by daily crucifying the old flesh nature and living according to the new spirit nature. It is putting off the old man and putting on the new man. Numerous Christians who are not martyrs will receive the crown of life. The crown of life goes to overcomers who realize soul salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

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.

a. This is the universal command to hear, and the special promise is to the victor or the overcomer in the Christian life. The “second death” pertains to the death of the Christian’s soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian is still saved spiritually, but his life or soul is consumed in the Lake of Fire.  

b. Those Christian who lose their soul in this life will not lose their soul in the second death, which is the lake of fire. This pertains to Christians whose lives are tried by the Fire of Gehenna, and their lives are burned up as wood, hay and stubble. Gehenna fire is the destroying and purifying fire of God (Matt. 10:28). It can destroy both body and soul. The same fire that will destroy the bodies of unsaved reprobates will destroy the souls of unfaithful Christians. These Christians will still go to heaven and will still be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The lives of many Christians will perish in Gehenna fire.  

c. This verse confirms that non-overcomers will be "hurt of the second death." The Lake of Fire destroys their lives or souls, but they are still saved spiritually. They are saved “yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-17).  

C. The Letter to the Church in Pergamum (2:12-17)

Rev 2:12-17 (KJV) And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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. 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. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 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.  

Pergamum means "Married" and it is a picture of Church history from the accession of Constantine in 312 A.D. up until the crowning of Boniface III as "Universal Bishop" of the Roman church.  It was a time when the Church entered into a union with the State. It was a time when the Church ceased to be persecuted and started being exalted. There was an unholy marriage between Church and State and the Church has never recovered.

12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;  

a. This contains the address and one of the sublime characteristics of Jesus.  The sharp sword is the one that divides asunder the soul and the spirit in accordance with the following verse:  

Heb 4:12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  

This is talking about judgment.  We either allow the written Word of God to do it now or the Living Word of God will do it at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Either way the soul or the “old man” must perish or die.  

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.  

a. Jesus asserts his omniscience of the works of Pergamum.  

b. Pergamum was a prosperous, sensual and pagan city. Pergamum was the capital of a powerful Hellenistic kingdom famous for its sculpture and its library, second only to the one in Alexandria. The church was close to the center of the kingdom of evil. The church had faith, courage, and endurance, and faithful witnesses to Christ. It also had some of the worst of elements. This is the place where Antipas died a martyr. According to tradition, Antipas was roasted in a brazen bowl at Domitian's request. Domitian was brother of Titus and reigned as emperor of Rome A.D. 81-96.  Domitian was the one who exiled John to Patmos.  

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.

a. Many held to the doctrine of Balaam, which has infiltrated the churches of today. Basically, it states today that if you have trusted Christ, you are saved and everything is fine, since you are a child of God. The teachings of reward/chastisement and the Judgment Seat of Christ are foreign to this doctrine. The term Ultra-Grace is used to describe this doctrine. It emphasizes grace to the total exclusion of works. The story of Balaam is in Numbers 22-24. Balaam taught Moabites to teach Israel to worship Baal and commit fornication, so Israel's God would punish them. Balaam attempted to curse Israel, but he was unable to do it. The doctrine of Balaam is the doctrine of worldly compromise.  

b. Balaam's error (Jude 11) was preaching and prophesying for gain. We see this in the Laodicean church today in the prosperity teachings, such as the name it and claim it teaching on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.  

15. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

a. Remember Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes.  Prophetically, this doctrine gained a foothold in the Church at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, which was during the Pergamum Church Age.  Nicolaitanism established a clerical hierarchy to rule over and control the people. This doctrine has infiltrated the whole Church now.

16. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

a. They are commanded to repent or their judgment will be swift and sharp. God will judge compromise and sin in the life of the believer. The sword of his mouth will separate the soul from the spirit in judgment, and the soul will perish in the Lake of Fire. The Christian will still be saved spiritually, but his reward or inheritance in the kingdom will be lost.

b. The Greek word for quickly is tachu and means suddenly or by surprise.  

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.  

a.       The Hidden Manna is typical of Christ, so it has to represent a special relationship with Christ in the kingdom. The Hidden Manna is the manna hidden in the gold pot in the Ark of the Covenant. It typifies the Living Word of God and the Written Word of God. One must go beyond the veil in the temple to where the Hidden Manna is kept. The Christian must go beyond the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies to receive the Hidden Manna. This can only be done in close fellowship with God in reading and studying his Word for the deeper truths.  

b.      The white stone represents acquittal at the Judgment Seat of Christ for any wrongdoing. The Christian who receives the white stone is the Christian who has been found holy and blameless at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He is the Christian who has gone on into maturity and realized the salvation of his soul. The new name represents a special relationship to Christ.  The new name represents ownership by Christ.  Both picture overcoming Christians who share in the eternal glories of Christ. Not all Christians will share in these glories. Only the overcomers will share in these glories.

D. The Letter to the Church in Thyatira (2:18-29)  

Rev 2:18-29 (KJV) 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; 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. 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. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 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. 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. 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. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 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. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

The Church Age of Pergamum ended with the beginning of the Church Age known as Thyatira. The message of Jesus to the Church of Thyatira is an accurate picture of the Catholic Church from about A.D. 606 up until the present time and continuing until Jesus returns. Thyatira was active in service and charities, and it was patient in relying on God's promises.  It did not have a zeal for godly discipline and doctrine.  It was indulgent toward errors and false teachers, so that falsehood and idolatry grew and modified the whole character of the church. The false prophets who first enticed the church into a falling away from the faith were women. Women teachers have always been a problem in leading the church astray into false doctrines.  

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;

a. This includes the address and the characteristic of Jesus as the all-seeing judge of the church.  We talked about these characteristics in the vision that John had on Patmos. The church of Thyatira is seen in the Catholic Church, which became powerful in the Holy Roman Empire as the power of the Roman Empire declined.

b. The eyes like a flame of fire portray the purifying judgment by fire that all Christians will experience. The metal brass typifies judgment, which is pictured for the whole Church.  

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.

a. Jesus describes the good works of Thyatira and the fact that their works have gotten better. The Catholic Church has done many wonderful works of charity, and is seen in the many Catholic hospitals, orphanages and works by nuns all over the world. The good works of the Catholic Church cannot be overlooked simply because of the evil works and terrible doctrinal abuse that goes on in the church. Jesus describes these evil works in the following 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.

a. The word “Thyatira” means a continual sacrifice and it alludes to the sacrifice of the mass, which denies the finished work of Christ on the cross. The mass and the false teaching of transubstantiation offers the death of Jesus Christ over and over as atonement for sin, and denies his once for all death as atonement for sin  (I Peter 3:18). Many Christians have died under the hands of the Roman Catholic Church because they refused to celebrate the heresy of the mass.  

b. Jezebel is a parallel with the parable of the leaven where the woman inserts the leaven into the dough.  This leaven is the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which was inserted into the Church and continues to work until the whole Church is leavened with false doctrines and false teachings.  

c. The woman called Jezebel taught the members of the church to participate in sexual immorality that accompanied pagan religion. This was very much akin to the ancient Babylonian Mystery Religion. In the Catholic Church many commit spiritual fornication (idolatry) in the worship of idols, the Eucharist, and the worship of Mary. Even with their faithfulness in some things, Jesus has a great deal against the church of Thyatira.  

21. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.  

a. This church was give the opportunity to repent, but she did not. Actually, the church of Thyatira has had 1400 years to repent, but it is still committing spiritual fornication.  

b. The Catholic Church has been made aware of its false teachings, but these teachings have continued up until the present day.  

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.

a. This woman called Jezebel would be cast into a sick bed for her evil.  Her followers would also suffer tribulation, unless she repents. The name Jezebel apparently represents the Papal Worship System, which is caused the Catholic Church to be led astray from the truths of scripture. God will deal with the Papal Worship System, and with those who are caught up in her heresies.  

b. Prophetically, the Papal Worship System, which is the Babylonian Mystery Religion, will be destroyed by Antichrist, and those in the Catholic Church who commit spiritual fornication will be rejected at the Firstfruits Rapture and cast into the tribulation period. This is addressed in this verse and the following verse of Scripture.  

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.

a. Many inside and outside the Church have followed the pernicious ways of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. Many shall die physically in the tribulation period under the reign of Antichrist.  This judgment will be so visible that all the churches will know that God is a righteous judge who searches the inmost mind (i.e., reins=kidneys) and the thoughts and emotions (i.e., hearts). The churches of Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea will be cast into the tribulation period, but they will wake up under the persecutions of Antichrist.  

b. The Judgment of the Church will be according to works. This has been overlooked by the majority of the Church who have been led astray by the doctrine of Balaam, which taught the children of God to be led astray by fornication and adultery.  

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.

a. There are some in this church that do not believe these false doctrines.  They have not gotten caught up in these so-called deep secrets that are in actuality satanic. These Christians will not be chastised. There are some in Thyatira, who have remained faithful to the Word of God. They will not be cast into great tribulation.  

25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

a. This verse establishes that the church of Thyatira will continue in existence until Jesus returns. Those in the Catholic Church who have remained faithful need to hold fast until Jesus returns for the faithful Firstfruits.

26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:  

a. This shows that overcomers in the Catholic Church will reign and rule with Jesus Christ in the millennial kingdom.  "The end" would be death or rapture in either the Firstfruits Rapture or the Main Harvest Rapture.  

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.  

a. Note that this is the church of Thyatira that will rule with a "rod of iron."  This confirms that the overcoming church in the tribulation period is the man child that is caught up to God (i.e., raptured) in Rev. 12:5.  

28. And I will give him the morning star.  

a. There is a slight mistranslation in this verse. The Greek word for “give” actually means to make or to commission. The morning star appears just before the darkest part of the night, and it reflects the light of the sun at that time. Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, and those in the Church who reflect the light of Jesus just before the last half of the tribulation period will be greatly honored as the bright and morning star. The Firstfruits Rapture will occur at midnight (i.e., figuratively speaking).  Jesus appears to Israel as the Sun of Righteousness in the morning.  The night between Midnight and dawn is a picture of the tribulation period. The Main Harvest will go through part of the dark, but they will be taken out before the darkest part of the night, and they will be witnesses of Jesus just before the darkest part of the night, which is the last half of the tribulation period. Thus, overcoming Christians during the first half of the tribulation period will be made or commissioned as the bright and morning star, which reflects the light of Jesus Christ just before the darkest hour of the tribulation period.  

29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

a. This epistle ends with an admonition to the Church to listen and heed the warnings of these letters to the Church.  

E. The Letter to the Church in Sardis (3:1-3:6)  

Rev 3:1-6 (KJV)  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. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 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. 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. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

The Church Age of Thyatira does not end with the beginning of the Church Age of Sardis, since Thyatira continues until the Lord returns (vs. 2:35).  The word Sardis means "escaping one," "remnant" or those who "come out," so it is an accurate picture of the Protestant churches, which came out of the reformation.  The word Protestant means one who protested against the false teachings of the Catholic Church. The Reformation began with Luther in A.D.1517 when he nailed his 95 theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  

The cry of the Reformation was "Sola Fide" (i.e., faith alone), and it is amazing how many evangelists and pastors tack on the work of repentance as a prerequisite for spirit salvation.  This is a result of the failure to understand the difference between spiritual rebirth and soul salvation, or the difference between "seeing the kingdom" and "entering the kingdom" (John 3:3,5).  The failure to understand the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ and the Judgment Seat of Christ has caused the entire Church to not understand even the basic doctrines of spirit salvation.  The works of repentance, baptism and obedience have been set forth as necessary for spiritual rebirth.  The gospel of John was written as a testimony so that people would believe and be saved (John 20:31) and the word repent cannot be found in this gospel.  Repentance is a condition for entrance into the kingdom, but this is not the same as spiritual rebirth.  

The Sardis church was called a "dead church" even though it had a reputation for being alive.  This does not mean that they were not truly born again, but that they were barren or unfruitful in their works.  Their works were in the power of the flesh and not the power of the spirit.

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.

a. The address, sublime characteristic of Christ, statement of omniscience regarding works and the spiritual condition of the church are in this one verse.  

b. The seven spirits of God represent the totality or sevenfold ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Isa 11:2 (KJV) And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;  

(1) Spirit of the Lord-Member of the Trinity

(2) Spirit of Wisdom-Intelligence or right use of knowledge.

(3) Spirit of Understanding-Insight, perception, able to discern

(4) Spirit of Counsel-Prudence or ability to give good advice

(5) Spirit of Might-Force, power or strength (esp., spiritual warfare)

(6) Spirit of Knowledge-to personally experience or to know God

(7) Spirit of Fear-Reverence, profound awe or respect for God  

c. The seven stars are the pastors of the seven churches (1:20).  

d. Jesus knows all about the works of Sardis.  

e. Sardis has a reputation for being alive, but she is spiritually dead.  This means she is barren or unfruitful in the works of the spirit.  Sardis works in the power of the flesh rather than the power of the spirit. The servant who hid his pound in a napkin or sweat cloth of self-effort is descriptive of the Sardis Christian (Luke 19:20).  

2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

a. The Sardis church is not watchful for the return of the Lord.  

b. The works they are doing need to be improved or made complete before God.  The works are lacking.  

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.

a. Christ cautions them on how much they have received (i.e., the inheritance) and heard.  "Hold fast" means  to guard against losing their inheritance by repenting.

b. Sardis is warned that if they do not become alert, Jesus will come on them as a thief (i.e., stealer), and they will not be aware (i.e., know) the hour that he comes. This is the same as the "goodman" whose house was broken into just like a thief (Mat. 24:43). He was not alert and he was separated from the servant who was alert. The unfaithful servant was not watchful and the following Scripture describes the separation that he experiences:  

Mat 24:50-51 (KJV) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, (i.e., separate him) and appoint him his portion (i.e., measured amount) with the hypocrites (i.e., those who pretend to be more spiritual than they are): there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

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.

a. Apparently, there will be some Sardis Christians who will be taken in the Firstfruits Rapture, since their works (i.e., garments) are complete and undefiled. They "are worthy" (i.e., deserving or due reward) even though they are not alert to the return of the Lord.

5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

a. This has reference to those who were defiled, but they become overcomers during the tribulation period. They will be clothed in the "white raiment" that is a symbol for their good works. The following Scripture describes these Christians:  

Rev 6:9-11 (KJV) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:.. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.  

b. The "book of life" has reference to the salvation of the soul and not spiritual rebirth. It would be ludicrous for Jesus to be warning Christians about having their names blotted out of the book of life if it were impossible.  

c. Jesus will confess the names of the overcomers before the Father.  The name has reference to the character of an individual. Thus, to confess the name means to acknowledge or approve of the character of the person who was an overcomer. These Christians will not be disapproved or disqualified for their inheritance.  

6. Rev 3:6 (KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

a. This epistle ends as all do with an admonition to the Church to listen and heed the warnings of these letters to the Church.  

F. The Letter to the Church in Philadelphia (3:7-13)  

Rev 3:7-13 (KJV) 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; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

The word Philadelphia means "brotherly love" and characterizes the Church Age that began with the Great Awakenings under George Whitefield, and was followed by John Wesley, Charles G. Finney and D.L. Moody.  This was a time when the evangelistic and missionary labors were carried out in the power of the spirit. It was during this time that the doctrine of the Second Coming was revived.  It was during this time that the Midnight Cry was fulfilled figuratively when the entire Church woke up to the truths of the return of the Bridegroom.  It is the Philadelphia church that is faithful to the Lord, and because of her patient endurance, she will be removed through the "Open Door" before the tribulation period sets in to try the Church.  

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;

a. The address and sublime characteristics of Jesus Christ are in this verse. A sublime characteristic is one of high spiritual, moral or intellectual worth that is not to be excelled. It is of supreme value and inspires awe in the observer. Jesus is holy, and this means He is pure and morally blameless. He is the embodiment of holiness.  

b. He is true, and this is relative to his deity. He is real, unfeigned, not fictitious, and this means He is the one true God, and not pretended like idols are only a pretense to being God.  Jesus Christ is God incarnate.  

c. He has the key of David, and this implies administrative or governmental authority. The Old Testament reference is Isaiah 22:22.  The key is a symbol for the undisputed authority to enter and exercise all needful authority. The Isaiah reference pertains to Judah, but this pertains to the Church.

d. He that "openeth" and "shutteth" has reference to entrance into heaven and the kingdom of the heavens. Having the key of David, Jesus Christ has complete sovereignty over who enters both. Since Jesus is addressing the Church, this entrance pertains to the Church. Israel as a nation has already forfeited their entrance into the heavenly aspect of the kingdom.  The Church is God's heavenly people, and Israel is God's earthly people.  

8. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

a. Jesus reveals his complete knowledge of their works, and He provides an Open Door for them because they have kept his word and not denied his name, even though they only have a little strength (i.e., power). This "little power" was actively employed in faithfulness to the Word of God. The “Open Door” is a metaphor meaning an opportunity for Missionary work. This was true for the literal church at Philadelphia, since it was on the main trade route between East and West, and it had an opportunity for spreading the gospel of grace to the region beyond. Also, the Philadelphia church age was one of great opportunities for missionary work. Prophetically, the “Open Door” is the open door into heaven provided for faithfulness to Christ.  

b. The Philadelphia church is not popular, powerful or influential in the worldly affairs of the Church on earth, but she is faithful in studying and keeping the faith as taught in the Bible.  

c. Philadelphia has not denied the name of Jesus. This means that their lives have reflected the character of Jesus Christ. This only happens when Christians crucify the old nature and allow the life of Jesus to live in them via the filling of the Holy Spirit.  

9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

a. Literally, there were Jews in the early Church that were particularly troubling to the Christians. Prophetically, there is a group of Christians that came out of the Reformation that believe that God is through with Israel, and that they are spiritual Israel or Jews. This group is very powerful in the Church today, and they look down on the Philadelphia Christians because they are so few and feeble in the Church body.  

b. The synagogue of Satan means a group that performs the will of Satan. The Jews that persecuted the early Church were performing the will of Satan in persecuting the Church. Also, the groups of Christians who think that the Church has replaced Israel will not be among the Philadelphia Christians, so they will literally be worshipping at the feet of Philadelphia Christians. These groups are still in the mainline Protestant Churches. Their false theology is called Replacement Theology.  

c. Philadelphia Christians will be among the four living creatures or the 24 elders, so they will be either in the throne with Jesus or the first row around the throne. This means those among the synagogue of Satan will literally be worshipping Jesus, but they will be at the feet of those who are closer to the throne. These are the Philadelphia Christians.  

d. The Philadelphia Christians are not popular among the larger body of the Church, but it will be clear that Jesus loves them with a special love.  

10. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

a. Those in the Philadelphia church have patiently endured the trials and tribulations of their Christian walk. They have established themselves as overcomers, and they will be kept from the "hour of trial" that is coming on all Christians who "dwell upon the earth."  

b. Those who "dwell upon the earth" are those who have settled down and gotten comfortable in the world. They are no longer pilgrims just passing through this life, and they have taken up residency and citizenship on the earth. They are not looking for the Lord to return, and they even disdain the idea that Jesus would come and interrupt their life of pleasure. They have become rich and their roots have been sunk deeply into the earth.  

c. The "hour of temptation" (i.e., trial) is the first half of the tribulation period. It will extend from the Firstfruits Rapture up until the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church.  

11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

a. Jesus states that his coming will be suddenly when it happens, and Philadelphia Christians need to guard against losing what they have attained in works. Even Philadelphia Christians could fall away and lose their crown.  

b. It is possible for one individual to cause another to stumble and fall and lose his crown. Christians should not allow anyone to cause them to stumble. The temptation to fall away will get much greater as we approach the Firstfruits Rapture.  

c. The Philadelphia Christian holds fast with a tight and tightening grip Christ's Word, Name, Patience and Coming. He may surrender life itself, but not the things that make up the crown of his testimony.  

d. The achievements of the Philadelphia Christian are not distinguished in the eyes of the Church, but he lives his life with increasing faithfulness. The crown that is to be guarded is the crown of life, and it refers to the salvation of the soul.  

12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

a. Overcomers will have prominent positions in the temple of God the Father, and they will never lose these positions. The name of God the Father on them signifies ownership. They will also dwell in and be co-owners of the New Jerusalem as their inheritance. Being linked with the New Jerusalem is analogous to being the Bride of Christ.  

b. The new name of Christ signifies that they will be his Bride.  

13. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

a. This epistle ends as all do with an admonition to the Church to listen and heed the warnings of these letters to the Church.

G. The Letter to the Church in Laodicea (3:14-22)  

Rev 3:14-22 (KJV)  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; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 

The word Laodicea means "peoples rights" and it refers prophetically to the Church Age that began about 1900.  It will continue until the Lord returns.  This Church Age is characterized by apostasy and lukewarmness. This church is a self-satisfied, proud and self-righteous group. It has become rich with material possessions, and the primary emphasis is on financial matters and organization. There is a zeal and fervor for organization and works that are seen by men, but very little communion with God and in-depth Bible study. Laodicean Christians are self-deceived, and they do not see that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. This church is made up of immature Christians caught up in the affairs of this world. They represent the largest segment of Christianity today.  

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;  

a. This verse contains the address and statements about the sublime characteristics of Jesus Christ. Amen is a Hebrew word signifying that which is fixed, true and unchangeable. It is referring to Jesus Christ as a descriptive title of him who is sovereign.  

b. Jesus Christ is also the only "faithful and true witness." This means Jesus is a trustworthy and truthful witness. He will be our Judge at the Judgment Seat of Christ and He will also be a witness for and against us according as our works shall be.  

c. "The beginning of the creation of God" means He was the principle, power or agent of creation.  This does not mean that Christ was the first created being as some cults say, but He was the actual creator and sovereign over creation.  

15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  

a. Jesus again proclaims his omniscience over the works of Laodicea.  He is a faithful and true witness because of his omniscience. Therefore, his judgment will be perfect and just, and there will be no appeal because of the possibility of error.  

b. Jesus Christ warns Laodicea about their lukewarmness. He prefers coldness over lukewarmness. This is probably because of the hypocrisy involved in lukewarmness. Jesus is referring to the true attitude of the heart here and not the outward professions that are made. The frothy, shallow Christianity on television and radio today is not the fervency that Jesus desires. Laodicea is primarily caught up in emotion hype, rather than spiritual fervency.  

16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  

a. This literally means that Jesus will vomit Laodicea out of his mouth.  Since this does not make sense literally, we take the figurative meaning that Jesus will reject the Laodiceans at the pretribulational Firstfruits Rapture of those who have been faithful or fervent in watching and being prepared for the Lord's return.  The rest of this passage confirms this to be the meaning of this 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:

a. Unfortunately, the Laodicean Christians of today think they are living wonderful Christian lives. They have large luxurious buildings, stained glass windows, and large land interests. This church has abundant material possessions, and they think this is a reflection of their spiritual condition.  

b. The true spiritual condition of Laodicea is not known by them. Jesus says they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. The word “wretched” means that they have not endured the trials used to test them.  The word “miserable” means that they are to be pitied instead of admired. The word “poor” means that they have no spiritual rewards stored up in heaven.  The word “blind” means that they do not have spiritual insight, which comes from a study of the Scriptures.  The word “naked” means that they have not made the necessary preparation for the wedding by providing for themselves the wedding garment of good works. It is because of these conditions of the church in Laodicea that it will be rejected at the Firstfruits rapture. This rejection is actually a merciful act by Jesus as the following Scripture confirms that they will be given a final opportunity to rectify all of these shortcomings in their spirituality.  

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.  

a. After its rejection prophesied in verse 16 above because of the spiritual conditions outlined in verse 17 above, Laodicea is counseled in this verse to make the most of the opportunity in the tribulation period. Laodicea is counseled to "buy of me gold," and this means to perform spiritual works that will deserve a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. "Tried in the fire" means that these works will be performed during the fires of the tribulation period. The purpose of buying this gold tried in the fire is so they will no longer be spiritually poor (i.e., "thou mayest be rich).  

b. Laodicea will also have a final opportunity to obtain the wedding garment of good works, so they will be clothed and not appear naked at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

c. Laodicea will also have the opportunity to have their eyes healed and opened to the truths of Scripture. The persecution of the tribulation period will help the Laodiceans wake up to the truths of Scripture.  

d. It is important to note that all of these achievements in spirituality occur after Laodicea has been rejected by the Lord.  If this rejection took place at the Judgment Seat of Christ, then there would be no additional opportunity to earn spiritual rewards and be clothed in the garment of good works. Laodicea will be raptured in the middle of the tribulation period (i.e., Rev. 7:9-17). They are the ones "arrayed in white robes" described in Rev. 7:13.  

19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

a. This verse proves that the Laodiceans are true believers. Jesus loves them so He will rebuke and chasten them in the tribulation period. Jesus cautions them to be zealous and repent of their sins and the life they are living. In this verse, there is still the possibility of repenting in time to avoid the tribulation period, which will be a time of rebuke and chastisement.  

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.  

a. This verse is often misinterpreted as pertaining to spirit salvation, but it has reference to fellowship with Christians who have already been born again spiritually.  

b. Literally, this verse states that Jesus stands in charge of the door, and he is knocking on the door for the Laodicean to hearken to or obey his voice.  If he does heed the warning, Jesus will come in and fellowship at the evening meal, which occurs before midnight and the midnight cry. In this verse, there also appears to be ample time for the Laodicean Christian to repent and be eligible for the "Open Door" promised to Philadelphia.  

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.  

a. This verse is also addressed to the Laodicean church during the Church Age. It includes the promise to all that overcome during the present age.  The highest position of reigning and ruling, "in my throne", is still available to the Laodicean Christian who is an overcomer.  

b. Verses 17 and 18 above are apparently the only verses in this passage that are specifically addressed to the Laodicean church in the tribulation period.  Verse 19 contains the warning about rebuke and chastisement in the tribulation, and verse 20 states the requirement for avoiding the tribulation.  That requirement is fellowship and intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 21 contains the promise to overcomers during the Church Age.  

22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

a. This verse contains the universal appeal to all of the churches to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

This ends the letters to the seven churches.  The Church Age ends with the pretribulation Firstfruits rapture of the faithful Philadelphia church. Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea are left to go through the first half of the tribulation period.  The Church Age ends at Revelation 4:1.