The Revelation - A Book With 7 Seals ?
/ Ewald Frank
3. Chapter 2 - The seven messages of the resurrected Lord, First message, Keep the first love
- Chapter 1 - Introduction, The Day of the Lord, Origin and significance of the prophetic word
- Chapter 2 - The seven messages of the resurrected Lord, First message, Keep the first love
- Chapter 3 - The fifth message, The Reformation Age, Strengthening the weak in faith
- Chapter 4 - A glimpse into heaven
- Chapter 5 - The mysterious book with the seven seals
- Chapter 6 - The opening of the seals, The unveiling of the power of the antichrist, A general view
- Chapter 7 - The sealed from the Jews
- Chapter 8 - The seventh seal, The silence in heaven, Mercy seat becomes judgement seat, Introduction to the seven trumpet judgements, The first four trumpets
- Chapter 9 - The incomparable torment, The fifth trumpet the first woe
- Chapter 10 - An intermediate vision The open book, The Lord as the Angel of the covenant
- Chapter 11 - The second intermediate vision, The measuring of the temple and the ministry of the two witnesses
- Chapter 12 - The woman clothed with the sun, Christ and His Own, Satan the red dragon and his followers
- Chapter 13 - The visions of Daniel in review of and in connection with the Revelation
- Chapter 14 - The Lamb and the sealed 144,000
- Chapter 15 - The seven bowl judgements and the multitude at the crystal sea
- Chapter 16 - The seven bowls of wrath, The final judgements of Gods indignation
- Chapter 17 - The woman riding on the beast
- Chapter 18 - The destruction of the great Babylon
- Chapter 19 - The rejoicing in heaven over the destruction of Babylon, The marriage of the Lamb
- Chapter 20 - Binding of Satan, Completion of the first resurrection by the martyrs, The Millennial Kingdom
- Chapter 21 - Announcing of the new heaven and the new earth, The glory of the New Jerusalem, The terrible fate of the lost
- Chapter 22 - The river of life and the trees of life, The paradise-like condition during the Millennial Reign
- Appendix - The 70 weeks of Daniel and the current events with Israel in the light of Bible prophecy
We do not need to deal with the seven letters to the churches so much, for they were already thoroughly dealt with in the exposition of the "Seven Church Ages". They are more or less known to all. Initially the message was received by the messenger who was the angel of the assembly. Then he gave it to the whole church. Therein we find praise for the good and rebuke against false doctrines and so forth. At the end of each letter, special promises are given to the overcomers. These are not only applicable to the particular mentioned local assemblies but also to all believers during the course of the New Testament Church.
Scholars of church history have profoundly dealt with the seven special periods. The most known among them is Dr. Clarence Larkin who in his book «Dispensational Truth», on pages 130-132 gave the timely epochs. The man sent from God, William M. Branham, has used the same when he spoke on the subject of the seven church ages. The same time space is also given here.
Those seven messages have future prophetic character and are significantly in connection with the plan of salvation. The one who speaks and has His work among His Own is always the resurrected Lord. He introduces Himself in every letter in a different manner, but always in connection with special orientation to His Church. She must know Who He is and listen to what He says. Also the seven promises to the overcomers are different. At the return of the Lord those who will have experienced their completion from all church ages, participate in the first resurrection and inherit whatever was promised.
In the first message, the Lord addresses His Own as follows, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them who are evil; and thou hast tried them who say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars;
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember, therefore, from where thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy lampstand out of its place, except thou repent.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." (2: 1-6).
Here is mentioned the work the believers were doing in the Kingdom of God and also their patience. They had the testimony that they could not endure those who were wicked and those who were not true labourers. They tried them and found that they were wrong. This concerns those men who claimed to be apostles but were not. Thus they were manifested as liars in the first church age by those who faithfully stayed with the Word.
The Apostle Paul had already spoken about these developments in Acts 20: 28-32 a. o. Such men would rise after his departure, preach heresies and make disciples after them. In this connection he admonished the elders of the Church to be alert.
At that time the believers knew the teachings and the practice of the true apostles, as they had the things from the beginning in a vivid remembrance. They knew if someone did not come with the original teachings and practice, then they were imitators and their claims unjustified. The deviations from the original started in the first Christian generation. The original of the Primitive Christian Church must be the valid measuring rod and pattern for all true believers right to the end.
We are also told about the steadfastness and the endurance of the believers who suffered for His name. Then follows the rebuke, because some had left their first burning love. Therefore, they were asked to repent and return to the works of the beginning. If not, the Lord Himself would remove the lampstand from its place. What good does a lampstand serve if no light shines forth from it? In such a case only the remembrance and a dead form remain. Once again the Lord commends for the things which are good, also that the true believers hated the works of the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans had started to make a distinction between the brethren who ministered in the meetings and the laity who were the listeners. The Lord also hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
The promise to all who would listen to what the Spirit says unto the churches follows, "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." (v. 7). In the beginning Adam and Eve lost their right to the tree of life and were put out of paradise. After the work of redemption and reconciliation was done, the true believers have access to the Tree of life and paradise (Lk. 23: 43) again.
The church age of Ephesus commenced from the beginning of the New Testament Church until about 170 A.D.
In the second message the resurrected One introduced Himself as follows, "These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and is alive.
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich); and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
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." (2: 8-10).
The true believers during that time suffered terrible persecution. They were stricken with poverty in the natural and were made fun of by those who claimed to be true Jews - true believers, but actually were the synagogue of Satan. The Lord encourages His Own with the words, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer." The persecution always originates and comes by those who think they are right but are not. True children of God do not persecute, but they are always persecuted (Gal. 4: 28-29).
The adversary saw to it that some of them were thrown into jail and others endured great tribulation. The ten days mentioned in this text are known in the early church history as the ten most terrible years of Christian persecution under Diocletian, 300-310 A.D. Whoever in all these circumstances endured right unto death and remained faithful should receive the crown of life. The promise was, "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (2: 11). The first death happens when the soul leaves the body, the second death when the spirit leaves the soul at the White Throne Judgement.
The church age of Smyrna lasted until about 312 A.D.
In the third message the Lord shows Himself in the following manner, "These things saith he who hath the sharp sword with two edges.
I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." (2: 12-16).
The Lord knows His Own and also their works. He knows what they do and where they live. At this time, Satan had put up his seat in the apostate Christianity. In the year 325 A.D. the council of Nicea took place. About 1,500 delegates participated in the same. There, the preference of the so-called spiritual leadership over the laity was emphasised and made a rule. The two main leaders were Athanasius and Arius.
The Lord had to rebuke some of the true believers who tolerated the doctrine of Balaam which was mentioned in connection with the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Balaam did not belong to the people of Israel, but he succeeded in the Old Testament to pull Israel into idolatry and mix them with the other nations. This Nicolaitan branch was a mixed group and had won influence, and the gap between the listening audience and the clergy became obvious in this apostate church.
What was deeds of the Nicolaitans in the first church age, now in the third church age became a set doctrine which the Lord hated. He called on His Own to repent. Otherwise He would have to come and fight with the sword of His mouth, which is always His Word addressed against those who deviate from it.
The promise is, "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 except he that receiveth it." (2: 17). The Lord feeds His Own with the hidden manna of the revealed Word and promises to the overcomers a new name.
The church age of Pergamum extended to about 606 A.D.
In the fourth message the Lord introduces Himself as follows, "These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine bronze.
I know thy works, and love, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou allowest that woman, Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not.
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he who searcheth the minds and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak, I will put upon you no other burden.
But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come." (2: 18-25).
The church of Thyatira was in character according to the respective age and therefore, we find she was praised because of her works, her love and her faithfulness, and also her patience was mentioned. She also grew spiritually, but then the Lord saw the things which were not pleasing unto Him. He speaks against a woman He calls Jezebel who acted as prophetess. The most plausible deception and the most terrible in the spiritual realm happens with those who prophesy. Many tend to believe them. They are being looked upon and admired by the innocent who are not aware of the deception which could lie behind such prophecies.
God has placed the fivefold ministry into the New Testament Church exclusively with the brothers. There is no such a thing in existence as God having placed women-prophets, women-apostles, women-teachers etc. If it happens that a woman takes the place of a prophet, a teacher, or an apostle, then by comparison with the Holy Scripture one can know that Satan is misusing her for a trial in the church. Sooner or later each spiritual revival will experience the same temptation as Eve. The Apostle Paul laid much emphasis on the divine order, when he wrote, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression." (1 Tim. 2: 11-14). Every woman who thinks to be spiritual and withdraws herself from the rulership of her husband, as the Lord God commanded in Gen. 3, automatically undergoes the rulership of Satan and becomes his tool. As in the garden of Eden this never happens in a conversation about politics or other earthly matters, but always in reference to what God has said.
Wherever a woman oversteps the ordained boundaries, she starts teaching others about Bible subjects. At the same time she places herself above the Scripture and her husband. This is an unmistakable sign that she is possessed by the enemy, religiously covered but under false inspiration, by the powers of the enemy under disguise. Therefore the apostle gave the following order: "Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn anything (not teach), let them ask their husbands at home " (1 Cor. 14: 34-35). As we are dealing with the ever valid Gospel of Jesus Christ, the guidelines given at the beginning remain unto the end. The apostle by the commission of God refers to what happened in Eden and shows the women their place.
The same admonition was already given to Israel in the Old Testament. "Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, who prophesy out of their own heart, and prophesy thou against them,
And say, Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the women that sew amulets upon all wrists, and make kerchiefs for the head of every person of stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?" (Ezek. 13, 17-18). It is advisable to read the whole chapter and learn the lesson for the future. Very strangely, but actually, nothing has changed. A woman who thinks she is spiritual, starts to teach others but she is obviously under false inspiration. Her falsely inspired prophesies have the character of sorcery and divination and carry the deadly poison of the serpent within. All who listen to such are spiritually bound and need to be delivered and loosened by the authority of the name of Jesus Christ.
His servants who preached His Word should have known better and uncover the deeds of Jezebel. But as Eve listened to the serpent and Adam listened to her, she pulled him into the fall, so the servants of God fell under the false teaching-inspiration of this Jezebel, who did "seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." This does not concern natural fornication but rather spiritual adultery, which is clearly shown by the context. Women who think they are spiritual and act as prophetesses will pay direct attention, and not get involved in natural fornication with the servants of God, because then they would loose their spiritual authority and influence over them at once. Jezebel who acted as prophetess and was teaching was asked to repent and also those who participated with her. The spiritual children who came forth from this mixture died the spiritual death.
Those who did not embrace the false teachings of the self-appointed prophetess were given the promise, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations;
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.
And I will give him the morning star." (2: 26-28). The Redeemed will inherit with their Redeemer all things and reign with Him over the nations during the Millennium.
The church age of Thyatira (the dark age) lasted until about 1520 A.D.