Commentary By: Gordon King
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.“
This is what Jesus Christ told the apostle John when He appeared to him on the island of Patmos. John says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, meaning that he was taken up in the Spirit which I believe refers to the rapture of the church. He says that this was on the Lord’s Day, and if we study scripture then we know that the Lord’s Day is the Tribulation period, the same day as the “Day of the Lord”.
“Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will be limp,
Every man’s heart will melt,
8 And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;
They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;
They will be amazed at one another;
Their faces will be like flames.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine.“
1 Thessalonians 5:2
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.“
“Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?“
I believe that the Lord’s Day and the Day of the Lord are synonymous with one another. John was taken up to heaven on this day, during this time, the Tribulation period. This is the time when most of the book of Revelation takes place, at least from chapter 4 on, before that is the church age and then just prior to the Tribulation period.
‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” ‘
The loud voice of God as of a trumpet, does that sound familiar to anyone? The very same voice which we will hear at the rapture of the church, the trump of God! John was taken up to heaven in the Spirit when he heard the trump of God, a representation of the rapture of the church.
Jesus told John to write what he sees in a book and to send it to the seven churches. These were the seven churches at that time, however they continue on today! John was not merely writing to the seven churches at that time, but also to the church of today.
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.“
Jesus Christ is standing in the midst of the church, and the seven lampstands represent the seven churches, the churches then and the church now! I truly believe that Jesus was not only giving the churches at that time a message but also the church now in our current time.
“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.“
The Church of Ephesus
The church of Ephesus left its first love, that is God. He is telling them that if they do not repent then He will remove the lampstand from its place, He will remove the church from its place.
“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; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.“
Jesus is telling us to hear what the Spirit says to the church.
“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.”
He who overcomes will eat from the tree of life!
The Church of Smyrna
The church of Smyrna was a persecuted church, the Lord is telling them not to fear what is about to happen to them but to be faithful even unto death.
‘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.
He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.
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.” ‘
The Church of Pergamos
The church of Pergamos was living among satanic worshipers, and some of the people in the church held satanic doctrines and committed sexual immorality.
“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. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.“
The Lord will give to those who overcome hidden manna, a white stone, and a new name written on it.
“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 Church of Thyatira
The church of Thyatira allowed a prophetess given the name Jezebel to teach and seduce God’s servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
“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.“
To him who overcomes and keeps His works until the end He will give power over the nations.
“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. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.”
The Church of Sardis
The church of Sardis was a dead church.
“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.“
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments and will not have his name blotted out of the Book of Life!
“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. 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.“
The Church of Philadelphia
The church of Philadelphia is the faithful church.
“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. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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.“
These verses speak of keeping them from the hour of trial or the Tribulation period, which I believe is also speaking of the rapture of the church!
The Church of the Laodiceans
The church of the Laodiceans were a lukewarm church, they were a compromising church, they sat on the fence on many issues and did not stand in faith.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. “
If anyone hears His voice and opens the door Christ will dine with him and he with Christ.
“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. 21 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.“
These are the seven churches during the time that the apostle Paul wrote this book. However, I also believe that they represent things about the church of today! The church as a whole today has these same attributes, and we are warned about them by Christ Himself. We are told to watch and be ready, to persevere in our faith, and to not compromise the word of God.
Many believers will take what John says in these chapters about the church to mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation, however, we must take what John has written and compare it to God’s word in the new testament in order to rightly divide it.
Scripture tells us that we cannot save ourselves by our works but that we must be born again, we must repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it’s the only way! We are not found righteous of ourselves but only by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.“
‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ‘
“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” ‘
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.“
Jesus said that he who comes to Him shall never hunger or thirst. All that the Father gives to Him He will by no means cast out. Everyone who sees Him and believes in Him may have everlasting life and He will raise him up on the last day. He will lose nothing that the Father has given to Him! None of these verses have a condition to them, they are all unconditional on our part.
‘And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” ‘
Once saved you are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God, if God has sealed us then who can unseal us? There is no scripture stating that we can be unsealed, none that I have read. This seal is the guarantee of our inheritance until our final redemption!
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.“
I could go on and on with scriptures which tell us that once we are saved we have everlasting life, that we will always be children of God, no matter what we do or don’t do in this life. We must rightly divide the word of God, and if we see scriptures that seem to contradict themselves then we are not rightly dividing God’s word! The bible does not contradict itself, we do that ourselves.
So what then did Christ mean when He said: “and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life“? Did He mean that we could in fact lose our salvation, that there are actually people having their names blotted out? No, it does not mean that at all, and we should not assume that because He said He would not blot out our name that there are those that He is blotting out, that my friends is a slippery slope argument. What He is saying is that believers in Him will not have their name blotted out, that our names are written in the Book of Life, and that we shall be with Him in heaven!
Well then you may say, what about when the Lord said to the church of Laodicea “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.“ Doesn’t this prove that Christ will in fact not allow some believers into heaven? No! Read on about this church, Christ also said to them in verse 19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” The good Lord is telling us throughout chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation that we are to be faithful and obedient to Him, that we should persevere to the end, that we should not sin, and if we do sin then we will be chastened and rebuked for it.
But, you might say, Jesus told the church of Ephesus this “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.“ And then you say that this proves we can lose our salvation, He said that He would remove our lampstand unless we repent! First of all, we must remember what the “lampstand” represents, it represents the church not the individual believer. Second, He said that He would remove the lampstand from its place, meaning that He would remove that one church out of the seven churches, not individual believers.
There will be those who say that believers can actually go through the Tribulation period, that Jesus said so to the church of Thyatira “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 don’t believe for one minute that Jesus is speaking to actual believers, but to unbelievers who follow the doctrines of demons.
“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. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations“
It’s not that some believers were not sinning, but they did not know the depths of Satan, they were seduced by this so-called Jezebel in the church. We must also remember that there were people in the church that called themselves Christians who were not actually born again just as there are today in the church. Also many believers today are being seduced by deceiving spirits, by those who teach doctrines of demons. Christ is telling true believers in the church to hold fast, hold on tight to the truth that they have, do not give into temptations and seductions.
These are the things Christ had against the church at that time.
Ephesus: Lost their first love, Christ
Smyrna: No condemnations, Persecuted church
Pergamos: Held the doctrines of demons and taught immorality
Thyatira: Seduced God’s servants with a Jezebel spirit
Sardis: Dead church, Not living as Christ lived
Philadelphia: No condemnations, Faithful church
Laodicea: Luke Warm church, Compromising, Not standing for the truth
These things that God had against the church at that time are also things that He has against the church now! We can all fall into any or all of these categories if we allow ourselves to. And if we take a close look at the church of today we can see these things happening all around us in the church.
We must also remember that there are many who call themselves Christians who are not actually saved! There are wolves in sheep’s clothing out to deceive and destroy. God is warning us of such people, of such things, and telling us to be righteous and holy as He is righteous and holy. We are to persevere to the end in faith, building our faith as we get closer to Christ’s return for us, holding to what is true, remaining steadfast in God’s word.
God bless my friends! Maranatha!