Everlasting Kingdom: Unraveling the Bible’s Secrets

The Seven “Churches” of Revelation

Ages or Attitudes—History or Prophecy?

Menorah

Back Next Chapter 20, Part 1 Preview: Many opinions exist concerning what the “seven churches” of Revelation 2-3 represent. Some claim that they represent seven “attitudes” present during the entire “Church Age”. Others claim that they are seven consecutive historic periods or “eras” of “God’s Church”. Does the internal evidence in the Book of Revelation about these “seven churches” support these interpretations? Could they actually be seven Assemblies of people comprising the entire Congregation of Elohim’s (God’s) people alive today? Was the Book of Revelation meant to be understood? I submit that understanding the nature of the “seven churches” may become a life and death matter during the coming years.

Three Popular Interpretations

I have summarized the most common explanations of the “seven churches” into three theories. We’ll start with the “eras” and “attitudes”.

New Jerusalem
INDEX

Theory #1: The politically correct belief is that these seven represent all of Christianity down thru the ages, culminating in the end-time. This theory maintains that there are seven broad “attitudes” that comprise every brand of the Christian “faith”. The warnings and promises are for anyone, at any time, who thinks of themself as a Believer.

Theory #2: A narrower interpretation is that the “seven churches” represent seven uninterrupted “eras” of Yehovah’s “true” Assembly of believers extending from the time of Peter to the end of the age. This is a form of the “Apostolic succession” teaching of the Catholic Church. Adherents to this teaching often have a Papal like adoration for their own “Vicar of Christ”, whatever they may call him (or her). The theory often maintains that today is the “Laodicean era” and that the other six “churches” are all but deceased.

Theory #3: There is also the “preterits” explanation that these “seven churches” existed historically and that the warnings are totally irrelevant for us today; as is, they would claim, almost every other prophecy. I don’t care to even comment on that notion.

(Note: the word “church” is directly derived from the name of the pagan goddess Circe. Yet the origin of the English form of the word “church”, and many European languages is of no concern to most people.)

The first two theories are quite similar with the exception of how exclusivistic the theorist is. If you believe that “all roads lead to heaven”, then Theory #1 is the explanation for you. On the other hand, if you believe that only those people who accept the teachings of your favorite guru (and his alleged or actual predecessors and successors) are true disciples, then Theory #2 is for you. Theory #2 appeals to total exclusivists so much because they can view the “seven churches” as history rather than prophecy—despite their placement in the KEY book of end time prophecy! In this way they can still believe that their organization has always existed under the control of one “church government”. The idea that “the Way” can exist in seven differing forms at the same time is anathema to them.

The first man to suggest the idea of church eras was a 13th Century Catholic monk named Joachim of Fiore. Later, Nicholas of Lyra was the first to suggest actual dates. The Catholic Church eventually rejected Joachim’s theory, but a form of it later resurfaced with some of the Protestant Reformers. Most of the “era” proponents have associated themselves with “the church of the Laodiceans”, the last supposed “era”, and taught that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) return was imminent. Of course constant revisions of the end time schedule of events need to be made as each new generation of “end time Apostles” come on the scene.

The “church eras” theory was promoted by Ellen G. White, “prophetess” of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the idea is preserved in her writings. She taught that the Adventists were the last era of Yehovah’s “true church”. In the last century, Herbert Armstrong taught that the Worldwide Church of God was the “Philadelphia era”, because the benefits package was much better that that of Laodicea. Of course he had to teach that the final “era” would come and go in an extremely short period of time. Others have stepped forward in recent years to “bear the burden” of being end time “Elijah’s” presiding over either the “Philadelphia era” or the “Laodicean era”.

Attitudes or Works?

James 2:26 A body without the spirit is dead, just as faith without works is dead.

Some people, particularly those who may see problems with the eras approach, latch onto the “seven different attitudes” approach, saying that there are seven distinct types of people with distinctive “attitudes” within Yehovah’s one Assembly. They see this as the condition of the body of Yeshua since its inception. Actually, there are only two “attitudes” at work in the end time congregations—good ones and bad ones. Most of the “seven churches” have both attitudes present. However, that is not the issue. There are two paramount factors addressed in this prophecy—“works” and “heresy”, (being divided into sects is literally “heresy”). Most of the world’s churches teach that good “works” are not a factor in salvation. Try telling that to these Assemblies!

Revelation 2:2 I know your works, your toil and your endurance. I know that you can’t tolerate the wicked, and that you have tested those who claim to be ‘apostles’ and arent, and you’ve found them to be liars. —The Gabriel Bible

Revelation 2:5 So remember the ‘height’ you have fallen from and make amends. Do the former works, because unless you make amends for your sins, I WILL COME TO YOU QUICKLY and I’ll remove your menorah from its place!

Revelation 2:9 ‘I know your works and your suffering, and your poverty, but you are rich, despite the blasphemy coming from those who say that they are Jews, but arent. They are from the cabal of Satan.

Revelation 2:13 I know your works, and where you live—where Satan’s throne is, and that you hold firmly to My name. You didn’t deny My faith in the days when My faithful witness who was martyred among you was made a spectacle of, where Satan lives.

Revelation 2:19 I know your works, love, faith, service and endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

Revelation 2:23 I’ll strike her children dead and ALL THE ASSEMBLIES WILL KNOW [5] that I’m the One who searches the innermost thoughts and motives. I’ll compensate each of you commensurate with your works.

[5] There goes the eras theory.

Revelation 2:26 To those who are victorious, persevering in My works TO THE END, I’ll give authority over the nations.

Revelation 3:1 To the messenger of the assembly in Sardis, write: “He who has the seven spirits of YHVH and the seven stars says, I know your works, you’re name [or reputation] ‘says’ that you are alive, but you’re dead.

Revelation 3:8 I know your works. Look, I have put an open door in front of you that no one can shut, because you have a little strength and you’ve obeyed My Word and haven’t denied My name!

Revelation 3:15 ‘I know your works, that you are neither hot or cold. I wish that you were either cold or hot.

To be justified before Yehovah we must do Yehovah’s works and also have faith, as He admonished the seven “menorah”. Neither faith or works alone is sufficient by itself.

James 2:22 You see that faith enabled his works, and as a result of works, his faith was perfected.

James 2:24 So you see that people are deemed to be righteous by works, and not by faith alone.

An Unembellished Explanation

A literal view is that these prophecies are for the end of the age. Specifically, there will be seven different ecclesiastical groups, most of them having factions or splinters (1 Corinthians 11:19), each one of the menorah of Yehovah’s true congregation at the end of the age. The circumstances that these seven branches of the menorah (not really a “lampstand”) find themselves in are a true example of history repeating itself. These separate menorah have strengths and weaknesses that correlate to the conditions of seven local contemporary Assemblies that John was familiar with.

Let’s take a close look at what the Bible says on the subject. The purpose of the Book of Revelation is revealed in the very first verse of the book—it is to show us what to expect!

Revelation 1:1 THE Revelation of Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah, that Yehovah gave to Him to show to His servants—certain events that must of necessity take place soon. He revealed these events by sending His messenger to His servant John.

The phrase “take place soon” is translated as “shortly come to pass” in the KJV, implying that Yehovah is running late. What must “take place soon” are all of the events in the book that describes the Day of Yehovah (the “Lord”). The “quickly” aspect is that once these events begin to occur then the events will be as surreal as an action movie.

The book of Daniel was sealed—eluding a comprehensive understanding until the final generation of this age:

Daniel 12:4 But Daniel, keep this message a secret, and put a seal on the book until the time of the end. Many will travel around quickly, and knowledge will greatly increase.

However the Book of Revelation was intended to be understood from the time that it was written. Notice:

Revelation 22:10 Then he told me, “Don’t seal the words of this small book of prophecy, because the time is near.

I believe that John literally “traveled in time” to the very end of this age and saw Yeshua walking among His seven menorah.

Revelation 22:10 Then he told me, “Then he told me, “Don’t seal the words of this small book of prophecy, because the time is near.

The perspective that John was “viewing” this prophesy from was reflecting back on the Great Tribulation from within the time frame of the Day of Yehovah. This is an important distinction because the fireworks don’t really get going until after the Great Tribulation!

Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the time of Tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon won’t shed her light and shooting stars will fall from the sky, and the inherent power of the skies will be shaken.

When a symbolic term is used infrequently it usually means the same thing consistently—especially within the same book. Notice that “menorah” (lampstands) represent the “Seven ‘Ecclesias’ by definition:

Revelation 1:20 As for the mystery about the seven stars that you saw in My right hand, and the seven gold menorahs: The seven stars are the spirit messengers of the seven assemblies, and the seven menorahs are the seven assemblies.”

Are They Churches?

John Calvin

John Calvin insisted on using the word “church” (instead of using “Ecclesia” or “Assembly” or “Congregation”) in his version of the Geneva Bible. Others such as William Tyndale, refused to substitute a completely different word of Greek origin—“kirche/church” for “Ecclesia”: see “church” in Webster’s Dictionary}. Tyndale’s Bible correctly renders “Ecclesia” as “Congregation” rather than “church” where the Greek so-called “New Testament” passages use “Ecclesia”. This is perhaps the primary reasons why the Church (of England) had him killed! The term “church” implies both “an edifice” as well as “acknowledging ... ecclesiastical authority”—the trademarks of corporate or hierarchical church governments that seek to deprive you of your free moral agency (and your cash)!

For a very detailed study of the origin of the word “church” you really need to read about the pagan goddess Circe, Daughter of the Sun. Anatomy of a Church (by Earnest Martin)

Circe

Since the word “ecclesia” is rendered into English as both “congregation” and “assembly”, I would like to comment on the usages of these terms.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, an “Assembly” is a gathering in a single geographic location, “in the same place”, whereas “congregation”, while often used synonymously with “Assembly” would be more useful in describing, as Webster says, the “Christian church” on a planetary scale. In order to maintain a meaningful distinction, I prefer that distinction—to describe Yehovah’s entire “Ecclesia” as the “Congregation”. Going beyond Webster’s definition—when referring to any one of the seven end time lamps of the menorah, we might refer to it as an “Assembly” with local area members of that Assembly being referred to as “Local Assemblies”.

Seven Messages to Seven Ecclesias

There are seven examples of a Messenger delivering a message to “His servants” by a revelation to the envoy John (Revelation 1:1). Does the phrase “To the angel of the church of Ephesus” or the phrase “the angel of the church of_____” (any of the other six Assemblies) truly mean angels?

Angelos, the word usually translated as angel, is a word taken directly out of the Greek. One reason that spirit messenger is used so much in my writings is because in our society “angel” has strictly come to mean a spirit composed female being with wings—a concept taken right out of paganism. The literal translation of angelos is “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent”. In Greek, it can mean anyone, such as the human representatives of the seven “churches” of Revelation 2-3, or the mail carrier. “Angel” in Aramaic and Hebrew also means messenger. Messenger is capitalized in the The Gabriel Bible when a spirit Messenger is referenced. The references to demons as “angels” has been retained because I like the distinction. See What are Angels?

So the question is: Would Yeshua convey a message to seven Messengers via John? That makes no sense because Yehovah resides with the spirit Messengers. Yehovah would no more send messages to His Messengers, via John, than He would use the Post Office! The context indicates that Yeshua is delivering messages to people—human messengers—of the last generation of “the Way”!

Are these “messengers” Apostles? A commonly held opinion of the meaning of the term “Apostle” is a servant of Yeshua who had to have seen Him in person in the first century.

An Apostle is defined here in the Greek and here in the Hebrew.

The literal understanding of the word “envoy” or “delegate” or messenger”, rather than some winged creature as indicated by the following passage concerning the Ephesus Assembly:

Ephesus

Revelation 2:2 I know your works, your toil and your endurance. I know that you can’t tolerate the wicked, and that you have tested those who claim to be ‘apostles’ and arent, and you’ve found them to be liars.

Here we find an Assembly with men claiming to be apostles. The prophecy indicates that this Assembly will test these imposters to see if they are really apostles, not based upon their having seen Yeshua, but rather based on the things that they are saying. In Ephesus their “servants” are proven to be liars. However, the implication is that there could be men at the close of the age with the zeal and power of the original twelve, but that they must be tested by what they are saying. I doubt that true apostles would even apply the term to themselves, because of the baggage that has been added to the term by liars over the centuries. Nevertheless, there are seven end time “messengers”.

I believe that the Two Witnesses will come from two of the Seven Assemblies. John specifically referred to Zechariah’s prophecy concerning the otherwise unique symbols of “two olive trees” and two (of the seven) “menorah” , and compared it to the end time events that he was witnessing. Without going into detail here, the Revelation account correlates the circumstances of Zerubbabel and Joshua rebuilding Yehovah’s second temple to the Two Witnesses building a third temple!

Revelation 11:1-4 Then I, John, was given a measuring reed like a staff, and the messenger stood and said, “Get up and measure the Temple [1] of YHVH and the altar and those who worship there. 2 But don’t measure the courtyard outside of the Temple. Leave it out, because it has been given to the heathens, and they’ll trample the kadosh city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 Then I’ll commission My Two Witnesses. They’ll prophesy for 1,260 days, wearing sackcloth. 4 They are the two olive trees and the two menorahs standing in the presence of the Aloha of the earth.

[1] Here John is actually told to measure the end time third Temple just prior to the Two Witnesses commission (v.3). The terms “measure”, “measured” and “measuring” combined are found dozens of times in reference to the temple in Ezekiel 40-42. This would explain the previous verse (10:11): “John, you must prophesy AGAIN before many nations and peoples and princes and kings.” Is he one of the two witnesses or one of their companions? Same goes for Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6). Does Father Travel in Time?

Zechariah 4:1-14 The Messenger who had spoken with me returned, and awakened me, as a man who is awakened from his sleep. 2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a solid gold menorah with a basin on top of it. There are seven lights on it, there are seven spouts for each light that is on top of it. 3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on the left. 4 I said to the Messenger who was speaking with me, “Master, what are these?” 5 Then the Messenger who was speaking with me replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” I replied, “No, Master.”

6 Then He said, “This is the Word of Yehovah to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says Yehovah the ‘Warrior’ King. 7 Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you’ll become a plain. He’ll bring out the Capstone with shouts of ‘favorite’, He’s our favorite!” 8 The Word of Yehovah came to me. He said, 9 “Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this Temple, and his hands will finish it. Then you’ll know that Yehovah the ‘Warrior’ King has sent me to you. 10 Who despises the day of small things? These seven will celebrate when they see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. They are the eyes of Yehovah, that quickly traverse the entire earth.” 11 Then I asked Him, “What are the two olive trees to the right and left of the menorah?” 12 I asked him a second time, “What are the two olive branches beside the two golden pipes, pouring golden oil from them?” 13 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” And I said, “No Master.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Sovereign of the whole earth.”

Notice that some members of all Seven Assemblies will “rejoice” when one like Zerubbabel takes the plumb line in hand! The Book of Revelation was written expressly to inform the Seven Assemblies that will witness the Apocalypse, about what would be happening to His spiritual body, the entire Congregation, in it’s final generation. Yeshua himself testified to this:

Revelation 1:9-11 I John, your Friend and your partner in the tribulation and suffering that are ours in Yeshua Messiah, was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of Aloha [“OT”] and the Testimony of Yeshua Messiah [“NT”]. 10 I was in the spirit realm on YHVH’s Day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a shofar that said, 11 “Write what you are seeing in a document and send it to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

Why are there only Seven Assemblies mentioned in Revelation? Everyone knows that there are hundreds of sects claiming to represent Yehovah. I believe that the simple answer is revealed within Revelation itself! The phrase “the Testimony of Yeshua” is used five times in the Bible and every instance is in the Book of Revelation. We see below that Yehovah’s “offspring” are those who “obey the Commandments of Yehovah, AND have the Testimony of Yeshua”. Now for my biased statement: I believe that only people commemorating the Seventh Day Sabbath are truly obeying the Commandments. This drastically reduces the number of contenders for the seven. (This is not to imply that “Sunday Christians” won’t be “excused”—indeed many will be, as explained in Are the “Unsaved” Lost?.)

Revelation 12:17 The Dragon was furiously angry with the woman, and he went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, those who obey the Commandments of YHVH [TORAH] AND have THE TESTIMONY OF YESHUA.

Revelation 19:10 I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said, “Don’t do that! I’m a fellow servant, I’m your brother who also adheres to THE TESTIMONY OF YESHUA [His ‘written statements’]. Worship YHVH, because THE TESTIMONY OF YESHUA is spirit inspired utterances[or ‘the spirit of prophecy’].

The “the Testimony of Yeshua” is every instruction that Yeshua gave us, not simply what He told John, as is explained in the INTRO to the Testimony of Yeshua! (Part 4 of The Gabriel Bible)

It is worth noting that the word “testimony”, in Greek Bible verses, is derived from the Greek word that is also translated as “martyr” (marturia).... This is a message worth dying for!

Could it be that the essential “testimony” worth dying for also involves understanding the “prophecy” given by Yeshua to the Assemblies? Perhaps so.

Revelation 2:7 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies...

Revelation 2:7 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies...

Revelation 2:11 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies. Anyone who is victorious will never be harmed by the second death.’”

Revelation 2:17 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies...

Revelation 2:29 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies.’”

Revelation 3:6 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies.’”

Revelation 3:13 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies.”

Revelation 3:22 To anyone ‘listening’, listen to what the spirit says to the assemblies.’”

Biblical repetition is for emphasis!

It is evident that all of the self proclaimed “one true churches” will, by the end of the age, be aware of the other organizations that Yehovah is working with. Perhaps they will not, however, agree on which Assembly is Thyatira, etc. for a time.

Yehovah says to Thyatira that:

Revelation 2:23 I’ll strike her children dead and ALL THE ASSEMBLIES WILL KNOW [5] that I’m the One who searches the innermost thoughts and motives. I’ll compensate each of you commensurate with your works.

[5] There goes the church eras theory!

Yeshua concluded the Book of Revelation by again telling us who the book was addressed to:

Revelation 22:16 I, Yeshua, have sent My messenger to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I’m The ‘Descendant’ of the family of David, the brilliant Morning Star [3].

[3] You need to know what the “Morning Star” has to do with “Lucifer”!

The Bible unmistakably reveals that the Book of Revelation is addressed to the Seven Assemblies.

In Revelation Chapter 1, Yeshua was seen walking around the seven golden “menorahs” or “lampstands/candlesticks” (as most versions have it) that we are plainly told represent the Seven Assemblies (verse 20). These Seven Assemblies were on a mail route in Asia Minor, a province of the Roman Empire. These Assemblies existed in fairly close proximity to each other during the later ministry of the envoy John. Today this area is in Turkey. These seven small Assemblies died out centuries ago. That is indisputable, but have the prophecies already been fulfilled?

Has Yeshua Returned?

Did Yehovah carry out punishments on the seven ancient Assemblies that He said so much about? The only way that the prophecies concerning the Seven Assemblies could be fulfilled is if Yeshua has already returned and judged the world while we weren’t looking! All Seven Assemblies were given either a direct or indirect warning to be prepared for the return of Yeshua the Messiah! This alone rules out the possibility of “eras”.

The Warning to Ephesus:

Revelation 2:5 So remember the ‘height’ you have fallen from and make amends. Do the former works, because unless you make amends for your sins, I WILL COME TO YOU QUICKLY and I’ll remove your menorah from its place!

We see here a direct reference to the return of Yeshua, and very soon. Altho this Assembly is not accused of false teachings, it is growing cold in spirit. Yeshua will threaten to “remove” the “menorah” of the messenger, or “angel”, of Ephesus unless he and those whom he represents “repent”.

To see some fantastic photos of ancient Ephesus click this link.

The Warning to Smyrna:

The Smyrna Assembly will be greatly persecuted. Some of the members will be martyrs. This is the time of the “fifth seal” during the Great Tribulation.

Revelation 2:9-10 ‘I know your works and your suffering, and your poverty, but you are rich, despite the blasphemy coming from those who say that they are Jews, but arent. They are from the cabal [2] of Satan. 10 Don’t fear the things you are to suffer! Look, the Accuser will throw some of you into prison to test you, and you’ll undergo tribulation for ten days. But be faithful until death, and I’ll give you the crown of Life.

[2] Which of the seven gifts given to the assemblies could you live without?

If Smyrna were an era then their “tribulation” would have to have lasted for about 300 years (their 1/7th of the last 2000 years). There have been various tribulations as long as there have been kadishea (saints). However, the focus here is on “those things that you are about to suffer”—a particular and noteworthy tribulation! What about the “ten days”? This could possibly refer to the ten days between the Day of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement of the next Jubilee year. The suffering will be over when the sins are fully atoned for.

To see some fantastic photos of ancient Smyrna click this link and scroll down to Izmir.

The Warning to Pergamos:

The references to “sword of My mouth” in Revelation correlates to Isaiah 49:1-12 (especially v.2) that is a prophecy about Yeshua, “The Redeemer of Israel, their Kadosh One”, returning to save Israel. The implication is that this Assembly must repent or else be treated like the enemies of Israel will be.

Revelation 2:16 So amend your ways, or I WILL COME TO YOU QUICKLY and wage war against them with the long sword of My mouth.

There are false teachers in the Pergamos Assembly who teach the “doctrine of Balaam” and “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans”. Yeshua will destroy these teachers at His second coming unless those involved repent of teaching these false concepts. The knowledge of who the Nicolaitans are is so well exposed on the Web (tho I have never heard it explained in person) that I chose to only mention it here in passing.

Allegiance to any sect or denomination is literally “heresy”. In fact the Greek word for “heresy” and “sect” is one and the same! This is expounded on in Is Exclusivity “The Unpardonable Sin?

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 First of all, when you gather as a assembly, I hear that there are divisions among you, and this is destined to happen. 19 Of course there must be sects among you, so that those of you who are genuine can be recognized.

To see some fantastic pictures of ancient Pergamos click this link and scroll down to Pergama.

The Warning to Thyatira:

This is yet another “indisputable” reference to the return of “Yehovah AND His Messiah.

Revelation 2:25 But hold tightly onto what you have UNTIL I COME [6].

[6] The Thyatirans will be here “UNTIL I COME”.

John told Thyatira to at least hang onto the meager truth that they have. Losing Biblical ground is inexcusable.

To see pictures from Thyatira try this link and scroll down to Akhisar.

The Warning to Sardis:

Yeshua also gave the Sardis Assembly a clear reference to His return.

Revelation 3:3 Remember the way you received and heard, and obey those teachings and make amends. If you don’t wake up, I WILL COME TO YOU like a thieving false ‘minister’ and you won’t know which annual time [1] I’ll come to you.

[1] While “a nnual time” can be translated as simply “day” or “hour”, the first meaning of hora is “a certain definite time or season fixed by natural law and returning with the revolving year”. This is how the Scriptural calendar, anchored by the spring barley harvest, and visible new moons, is determined. Most of the important historical events (such as Passover and Pentecost of 31 AD) have occurred on these “annual times” just as the prophetic events will occur on Israel’s 7 Apocalyptic Days!

Yeshua told the Sardis Assembly that “if” they “don’t pay attention” that He will come upon them like a thief. The implication is that they should be watching and shouldn’t be overtaken by the “beginning of the end” by negligence. Wake up Sardis and “pay attention”!

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 But you, Friends, aren’t in darkness. That Day won’t catch you off guard like a thieving false “minister”, 5 because you are all sons of the light, and sons of the day. You aren’t sons of the night or sons of darkness. 6 So let’s not sleep like everyone else does, but let’s stay awake and be sober.

To see pictures of ancient Sardis click this link and scroll down to Sardis.

The Letter to Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:10–11 Since you’ve patiently obeyed My Word, I’ll protect you from the Hour of Trial that is coming to the entire inhabited world, to test those who live on the earth. 11 I AM COMING QUICKLY! [3] Hold tightly onto what you have, so that no one takes your crown.

[3] From the perspective of the end time seven assemblies—the successors of the prototypical assemblies who first read this prophecy—once these prophesies begin to happen, they’ll happen quickly.

This is a clear reference to Yehovah’s intervention in the affairs of the world. From the vantage point of John, in the 21st century, Yeshua is saying: “I am coming quickly”!

To see pictures from ancient Philadelphia click this link.

The Warning to Laodicea:

Revelation 3:20 I have been standing at the door knocking. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I’ll come in to them and eat with them, and they with Me.

The statement that “I will come” to those in Laodicea undoubtedly concerns Yeshua’s imminent return of.

This reminds me of a similar promise that John recorded in an earlier work:

John 14:23 Yeshua replied, “Anyone who loves Me obeys My teachings. My Father will love them, and WE WILL COME TO THEM [3] and make Our living quarters [mansion] with them!

[3] Both the Father and the Son will come to the person who shows Them love by obeying Their Commandments.

We see from the verses quoted above that all Seven Assemblies will be warned about Yeshua’s return.

To see pictures of ancient Laodicea click this link.

Great Tribulation
David J. Smith

There is more evidence to demonstrate that the Seven Assemblies will all exist prior to, as well as during, the very end time. The history of today’s Sabbatarian (i.e. Commandment keeping) Assemblies show that at least five of them are already in existence. However, Assemblies, beyond criticism, such as the Philadelphian Assembly or the Smyrna Assembly barely show up on the radar screen. They are undoubtedly assembling in living room groups in order to avoid “liars”, “Nicolaitans”, “Jezebel”, the “dead” and the “lukewarm”. Others will repent of the problems associated with the various sects and perhaps work with the better Assemblies. I expect that those in the Pergamos Assembly who do not “hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” will follow the lead of a modern day “Antipas” “My faithful martyr”. (I was looking for a picture typifying the Great Tribulation and this one gets right to the point. Someone tell me if you have read this book. The picture is a link.)

An interesting assessment of the “made in the USA” Sabbatarian Congregations in Yeshua is found on the following link. It explains the origin of each of these groups and mentions some of the major differences between the groups: The first four are easily traced to a common origin. These groups now salt the entire earth as explained in Similarities and Differences Between Sabbatarian Churches). Some of these probably collectively represent one of the Seven Lamps.

Among the Seven Assemblies we see a great deal of false teaching within the ranks of those calling themselves Yeshua’s Disciples. Yehovah demands a commensurate great deal of repentance. So being associated with a Sabbatarian group is not a safety net at all, in and of itself. We must all “work out our own salvation”. I would not say that all “Messianic Sabbatarian groups” are in some way associated with the Seven Assemblies. For example, there are “Sabbatarians” of every stripe who know the Ten Commandments, living on 40% of the earth’s surface who have never considered that Yehovah didn’t wait until man invented the International Dateline to determine when the Sabbath begins and ends. They are in reality keeping the sixth day! They may be as sincere, or even more so, than someone else in their same organization, living on the other side of the imaginary line who just happens to be keeping the Sabbath on the right day. I’m not certain how Yehovah will judge that. It is also apparent, from comparing “doctrine” to the Scriptures that Yehovah is being extremely tolerant of the misguided tenets that are taught within His “nothing to brag about” Assemblies. But there must be a limit to how far the “testimony of Yeshua” (everything that Yeshua taught) can be stretched before it simply does not meet the minimum requirement. So does a Seventh Day Baptist, who happens to understand and keep the Sabbath (in the “right” time zone), meet the “testimony” requirement? On the plus side, that group does not cast people from their group for not agreeing with any particular sectarian “Statement of Beliefs”. Any “ministry”—and there are many—that would banish a brother for having personal convictions that differ from a “corporate dogma” is fulfilling the early stage of the following prophecy:

John 16:2-3 You’ll be thrown out of their synagogues [1] and far worse, the time will come when whoever kills you will believe that they are giving a ze’bak [sacrifice] to Yehovah. 3 They’ll do these things because they haven’t come to know either My Father or Me.

[1] or Congregations or “assemblies

Other Links:

Seventh Day Adventists: This branch of Yehovah’s Assembly was organized in the early 1860s. The membership [2004] is about 14 million, drastically up from only 1+ million in 1961. (The vast majority of Sabbatarian disciples are Adventists, followed by Chinese!)

Church of God, Seventh Day: In 1863 The Hope of Israel magazine began to organize this Assembly. They were formerly called Church of God, Adventist. They are relatively large in membership compared to most of the other Sabbatarian congregations listed below.

Armstrong Groups: Herbert Armstrong, once well known, split from COG 7th Day in 1933. There are well over a hundred splinter groups that have descended from his His original corporate group since the Worldwide Church of God went into total apostasy. It has disavowed virtually every teaching that he had taught. A guess would be that the Armstrong descended sects all put together total well under 20,000. The above link is to one of the more traditional groups that I am all too familiar with.

Sacred Names Groups: Some of these are part of one of the seven Assemblies, or possibly they constitute one of the seven by themselves. They are generally descended directly or indirectly from COG 7th Day or the WCG—with a twist. They may number 6,000 members in total. My site has an excellent article on the name. Also a chapter in my book reveals what the vowels in YHVH really are, without relying on supposition and deductions. Many “name” groups are “unitarian”, that seems to me to “deny Messiah” even beyond that of trinitarians. At least trinitarians (as in most Adventists) believe that Yeshua is Aloha (God).

Seventh Day Baptists: This group spread to Newport, Rhode Island from Europe in 1671. Membership is small but significant.

Then there are the groups that thrived in China, Palestine, Russia & Europe:

The True Jesus Church: Sabbatarian revivals in China that can be traced back to pre Christian times. Sabbatarian Christianity also dates back to very early times. There is an extensive history stained with the blood of martyrs. Most of the perhaps millions of Chinese Sabbatarians now go under the ‘True Jesus Church’ name. Perhaps these later day Sabbatarians can be excused for thinking that they represent the one and only “True Church” of Yeshua. After all, the nations that the earliest missionaries came from only had a few Sabbatarians—Seventh Day Baptists! In later years the SDA’s also influenced the Chinese Sabbatarian assemblies. The most informative and concise article I readily found about them was written by a critic.

Messianic Jews and Israelites: Virtually non existent until the late 1970’s. Inspired in Palestine, but largely American: The Rise of “Messianic Judaism”

Russian and European Sabbatarians: These can be traced to before the Protestant Reformation. Now being Persecuted

The messages to the Seven Assemblies are for Commandment keeping Assemblies with the “testimony of Yeshua”. (Revelation 14:12) How ironic it is that even Atheists the world over know that the Book of Revelation purports to be about the end of our present “world” and yet the very Assemblies that the Revelation was written to reveal these truths to, think that the messages to the Seven Assemblies are primarily historic rather than prophetic!

The message to Thyatira specifically mentions “great tribulation”. Anyone in the Thyatiran Assembly who does not repent of Jezebel’s “doctrine” will get a wake up call by Yeshua in the “Great Tribulation” as an example to the other Assemblies.

The statement “I will kill her children with death” combined with “and all the churches shall know” shows us that their plight will be witnessed by the other Assemblies? Those of us in the other Assemblies will “all” have to see the suffering of this group. Of course all of the “churches” must be contemporaries for this to happen!

Revelation 2:22–24 I’ll throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer GREAT TRIBULATION unless they turn from her evil ways! 23 I’ll strike her children dead and ALL THE ASSEMBLIES WILL KNOW that I’m the One who searches the innermost thoughts and motives. I’ll compensate each of you commensurate with your works. 24 But as for the rest of you in Thyatira, everyone who hasn’t accepted this doctrine, everyone who hasn’t learned the so-called profound things of Satan, I won’t burden you with anything else.

The message to Smyrna mentions “tribulation”. And “some of you ... in Smyrna” will “be tested” by “tribulation ... until death”.

Yet the Philadelphian Assembly, as mentioned previously, will be kept from “The Hour of Trial that will come on the whole world, to test those who live on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10) All of these passages are referring to “THE Great Tribulation”. Of course, several historical parallels must be examined to reveal the “things that must shortly take place” (from John’s end of the age perspective).

Smyrna and Philadelphia, are both spoken of in the context of the “cabal of Satan”. Here we have a “cabal of Satan” mentioned four “eras” apart, supposed by most to be centuries apart. The wording is virtually identical in each reference, so both Assemblies encounter the same group of people. (Revelation 2:9; 3:9). I intend to show later on that these Assemblies both encounter the “cabal of Satan” at the same time. For the moment tho, consider this prophetic mention of “intrigue” as one of the necessary dots to be connected. Both references are undoubtedly end time prophecies concerning those who would destroy Father’s people by first deceptively claiming to be brethren.

Daniel 11:32-35 With slick and corrupt talk he will corrupt the wicked who violate the covenant. But the people who know their Elohim will be strong and take action. 33 Their wise people will share understanding with the many, yet they’ll fall by swords and flames. They’ll be captured and plundered for many days. 34 When they fall, they’ll be given a little help, but many who become allies with them will not be sincere. 35 Some of the teachers will fall away, to refine them, and to purify them, and make them white, all the way to the time of the end, but it will still happen during the time appointed [Hebrew, Mowed, a special Festival Day].

A similar thought comes to mind when we consider that two separate Assemblies, the first and third, are exposed to Nicolaitan “doctrine”. Ephesus hates the “works of the Nicolaitans” and many within the Pergamos Ecclesia “hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans”. Again, it would be unlikely to find this one particular doctrinal error mentioned several “eras” apart.

Prophesy shows that there will exist seven separate Assemblies of Yehovah’s people at the end of the age. Despite the differences tho, they are all part of the one spiritual Congregation, sprinkled like salt over the world. Time, circumstances, geography and a severe lack of Biblical knowledge kept these groups from uniting into a closely knit family, but that will hopefully change when the Two Witnesses begin their ministry. The important thing about this prophecy to the Assemblies is that even tho John saw the most likely outcome while “in the spirit”, there is still an opportunity for the Assemblies to repent of their sins and alter the exact outcome!

The Golden menorahs are symbolic of the Seven Assemblies of Revelation. Many Scriptures describe the golden menorah that was in Yehovah’s temple. It would be unreasonable not to make the association between John’s vision, and for example Exodus 25.

Now for Part 2

Part 2 Chapters Articles

Intro Feast Days

 Lon Martin
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Minor update March 13, 2014