Revelation commentary: chapter 2 - first 4 letters to seven churches

by Don Koenig

 Introduction to the seven letters:

In chapter one we read what John saw when he was in the spirit and encountered the risen Lord. What John saw in the right hand of Jesus was seven stars. We are told they represent the angels or messengers to the seven churches. John also saw seven candlesticks (light bearers). The candlesticks we are told represent the seven churches. Jesus was in the midst of the seven candlesticks indicating that Jesus is in the midst of His Church by the presence of His Holy Spirit. The stars in His right hand are angels that carry out the will of Jesus in His Church.

God indicates that His Holy Spirit has seven characteristics so it should not surprise us that God would reveal himself by working through seven different church types. There are also seven kingdom parables in Matthew chapter 13 that some suggest shed further light on each of these seven churches. In addition, Paul's letters in the New Testament were addressed to seven assemblies and the New Testament had letters to seven specific people. All that this implies is a study that is way beyond the scope of this commentary. I mention it to spark your interest in the design of God's word and to say that scriptures written prior to this book may even have some correlation to the new covenant church types revealed in Revelation.

 

Chuck Missler gives us a small taste of this design and correlation in his teaching on Revelation:

 

The Seven Kingdom parables:

 

"The Sower                           Ephesus: The apostolic Church

The Tares                             Smyrna: The persecuted Church

Mustard Seed                      Pergamos: Marriage to the World

Women/Leaven                  Thyatira: The Papacy in the Medieval World

The Field                             Sardis: Denominational/Dead Orthodoxy

The Pearl                             Philadelphia: The Rebirth of the Missionary

The Dragnet                        Laodicea: The apostate Church"

 

The seven churches and how they relate to the churches that Paul wrote to:

 

"Ephesus:                              Ephesians

Smyrna:                               Philippians (joy through suffering)

Pergamos:                           Corinthians (married to the world)

Thyatira:                              Galatians (call out of religious externalism)

Sardis:                                 Romans (Salvation by faith)

Philadelphia:                       Thessalonians (the rapture)

Laodicea:                            Colossians (told to exchange letters with Laodicea)"

 

*The seven epistles to individuals are "John, Peter, Jude, James, Titus, Timothy, and Philemon (Missler suggests the reader should figure out how these epistles correlate to each of the seven Revelation churches.)

*The seven parable suggestions, seven church suggestions and seven epistles above are from The Book of Revelation, supplemental notes page 60, Koinonia House Inc., 1995

 

The letters to the seven churches have a fourfold application:

·       They are for each of the seven churches that existed in John's time.

·       The message in all seven letters is for all of the churches of all time to know.

·       The message is to each individual identified with one of the seven churches.

·       The message is prophetic in the order they were given about the condition of the Church through time until Jesus formally marries His bride.

 

The letters to the seven churches:

There are seven assembly types or ages on earth but it will become clear that not all those within these assemblies were part of the true Church called the body of Christ any more than all Israel was true Israel. We shall see that there is a profound parallel between what happened to Israel and what happens in the assemblies of the seven churches through time. In these seven letters, Jesus is speaking to all who now identify with Him. Most are now Gentiles; the overcomers in these assemblies have been given grace to be grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and her new covenant promise. Jesus puts these assemblies into seven categories with seven messages and by doing so gives us a prophetic message of the seven churches from Pentecost until the Church is completed at her marriage to Jesus.

 

1. Ephesus: The Apostolic church

Background: Founded about 1400 BC, the city was identified with the goddess Artemis also known as Diana. The temple of Diana was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus became the Roman capitol of the province of Asia. The city was a wealthy and beautiful city called the "Queen of Asia". Paul founded the church there and made two visits to Ephesus. Timothy was the first elder of this church. John is said to have lived there with the Lord's mother. In later years the city lost its glory because of poor land practices that silted the harbor, cutting off the city from the sea. As Jesus warns in this letter, the candlestick was soon removed from that location.

 

Prophetic application of this church on earth is from Pentecost until about 100 AD.

 

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;

John is told to write to the angel over Ephesus (one of the seven stars). Why write to an angel? This might make one think that those who believe the message was really to the pastor of the churches are correct. The message certainly was to be given to the human leader there but the message may have an application that goes beyond the leader to a spiritual guardian. The scripture may be written to the angel to insure that the prophetic part of this message is fulfilled exactly as it is written. Angels assisted Jesus in fulfillment of the scriptures about His incarnation and angels assist in fulfilling scripture just prior to His return. So it is also reasonable to assume that angels are also assisting the spiritual body of Christ (the Church) to fulfill all scripture.

Psa 91:11  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

 

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.

Jesus says He knows the works they have done. All seven of the churches had works and Jesus is very aware of them. Jesus speaks about the labor and patience of the church at Ephesus. Many thought Jesus would return very soon to restore the kingdom of Israel. The passage also indicates that they were a discerning church and that they tried those who said they were apostles and were not. This infers that the early Church checked out the teachings of those who claimed to have been disciples of Jesus and exposed the liars. If any of the books we have in the Holy Canon today were written by these false liars, they would have been exposed by the early Church and would not have been included in the writings that were passed on in the Church as scripture. The faithful in this church spread the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ and established the foundations for the Church to grow.

 

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.

The first love they lost was a very close relationship with Jesus. They grew cold with time and stopped doing all the works they were doing at the beginning. He says if they did not repent, He would come quickly and remove the candlestick out of its place. The passage indicates that they had free will of choice to do what He said but they did not obey. This church and this city are today no longer in existence. The Church was in some trouble already in the first century just as Paul warned:

Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

 

If we look to the writings of the early fathers that were written after the book of Acts, there already may be some heresy incorporated. Only the books that were passed on and eventually put in the Holy Canon are totally reliable. Just knowing that it was an early writing does not make it correct theology. We need to compare all writings of theologians with known scripture and not the other way around. Some modern theologians have made the error of thinking that the writings of early Christian theologians are more infallible than are the scriptures.

 

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

 

There are a couple of different views as to what the deeds of the Nicolaitans were. The fact that Jesus hates them says the deeds were satanically inspired. Most say the deeds were the practices of a Gnostic sect that started with Nicolas of Antioch. The Gnostics claimed superior knowledge and claimed knowledge was man's highest good. They taught that material things were evil and the spiritual or the mind was good.

Nicolaitans were a sect of the Gnostics that taught that since Christians were spirit beings they could not sin. The Nicolaitans claimed that in order to master sensuality, one must know the whole range of it by experience. They said Christians should therefore abandon themselves without reserve to the lusts of the body since they concerned only the body and did not touch the spirit. This doctrine led to participation in all types of sinful practices. John addresses this false doctrine in his epistles.

Others say the meaning comes from the root meaning of the word nico meaning "to conquer" and loas meaning "the people". The deeds that Jesus hated in this view would be setting oneself up to rule over the people. Already, at this point in the Church some people were saying that God was speaking special knowledge through them and they were setting themselves up as an enlightened priesthood to rule over the common people.

Both views are actually correct because one practice is linked with the other. Both practices have their root in Babylonian paganism. It was necessary to set up a pagan style priesthood that claims special enlightenment from God for these heresies to be taught and believed by the lay people. Although there are to be elders/overseers/bishops in the Church, scripture does not support a special priesthood. Scripture teaches that all Christians are a nation of priests. In the letter to Pergamos, we will see that by the third century the deeds had become doctrines established by this enlightened priesthood.

 

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.

Jesus says this message is coming from the Spirit unto the churches. The seven letters are for all the churches, although this assembly at Ephesus is the focus of this first letter. The tree of life is promised to those who will overcome. This tree is in the midst of the paradise of God in New Jerusalem the Holy City. It should be obvious that if one has to overcome, that some of the members that identify with this church will not overcome. With this in mind, one cannot say that all who were identified with Ephesus or any of the other seven churches will also inherit the Holy City.

The message of this prophecy is to all those who identify with this assembly but the overcomers are only those washed in the blood of the lamb living by the power of the Holy Spirit. This theme will be found throughout these letters, so it is important to understand that a person who is identified as a member of this assembly is not the same thing as a person being a member of the one true body of Christ that dwells in the midst of all the assemblies. For example: a person can say he is a member of a Baptist Church. That makes him a Baptist and people will identify him as a Christian but unless he was truly saved by faith in Jesus for forgiveness of his sins, he is not truly a Christian at all. He would only be a member of a Baptist assembly that is identified with Christianity. In the same vein, identification with the church at Ephesus or any of the seven selected churches does not make all those within them Christians. It is important to understand this, or else by reading these letters, you might be misled to believe that Christians are actually saved by their works. Paul in his letters totally refutes the doctrine of salvation by works. He also makes it clear in his epistle to the Ephesians that all in the Ephesus church were not true believers.

 

2 Smyrna: The persecuted church

Background: Smyrna had an excellent harbor and still does today. It is a beautiful seacoast resort town in Turkey called Izmir. The city is the oldest of the seven and the city was probably established not very long after the great flood. Smyrna came under Roman control about 27 BC. The residents of the ancient city worshiped many pagan gods including Zeus, Apollo, Aprodite, Aesculapius, Cybele, Poseidon, Demeter, and later Caesar. Each year a Roman citizen had to burn a pinch of incense on the altar of Dea Roman, the goddess of Rome. This became a test for the Christians and many who refused were burned at the stake or killed by wild beasts in the arena. Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna in 169 AD., refused to recant and was burned at the stake at the hands of Jewish leaders.

Prophetic application of this church on earth is from the first martyr, Stephen, until 312 AD.

 

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;

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.

Jesus Christ is the first and last who was dead and is alive. Jesus says this assembly had works, tribulation and poverty but He assures them that although poor physically they are rich spiritually. In those days, there were many Jews in the city that said they were Jews but they actually persecuted the true Jews who found Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus tells us that these false Jews are the synagogue of Satan. When Jesus was in the flesh on earth, He also said many of the leaders of Israel were of their father the Devil when they rejected Him as their Messiah. They later enticed the nation to have Him crucified. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 9 that true Israel is not those descended from Israel (Jacob) by the flesh but only those descended from Jacob and that were elected to the promise.

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.

The tribulation and suffering that would last for ten days spoken of in this passage was most likely the times of persecution under the ten Roman Caesars since the birth of the new covenant Church. They were: Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Severus, Maximinus, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian and Diocletian. The last of them had the most believers slaughtered. Bible scholars do not dispute that the ten days of tribulation that Jesus spoke of actually happened. What they dispute is which persecution literally fulfilled it. There most likely was a fulfillment to the local church that was at Smyrna as well as a fulfillment through the prophetic timeline. The ten Caesars probably fulfilled the prophetic timeline.

During the rule of these ten Caesars, it is estimated that five million believers were killed by the Romans as well as by the Jews that rejected their Messiah. Jesus told this church that those who held on to their faith in spite of losing their physical lives would be given a crown of life.

After these ten evil Caesars, it seems that Satan concluded that killing the Christians could not defeat Christianity. He then changed his approach and infiltrated the leadership of the churches by mixing the Church with state political appointees. Under Constantine in 312 AD, Christianity was adopted by Rome. At that time, Satan began the process of corrupting the church from within by joining the church with the pagan world political system.

 

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.

Only those with spiritual ears can hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Those that overcome will not be hurt of the second death. Later in this book, we will find out that the second death is the Lake of Fire. It is where all will go who are not written in the book of life. No one who overcomes by washing their sins away with the blood of the Lamb will ever take part in this second death.

This persecuted church is one of only two churches that Jesus has no message of criticism for. The other church is Philadelphia. Jesus in general is well pleased with the people who make up the Church at Smyrna.

 

3.  Pergamos: The church that committed adultery with the world system

*Background: Pergamos was the great religious center of the area. Zeus was said to have been born there. The great altar of Zeus stood on a foundation 115 feet above the ground level. Aesculapius (the god of health) and Zeus the (savior god) were actively worshiped. The pagan practices that took place there can be traced back to the time of Nimrod who founded the Babylonian religion. This ancient religion included the worship of his widow Semiramis and her son, also known as Ashtoreth and Tammuz of Phoenicia, Isis and Horus of Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros of Greece and Venus and Cupid of Rome. (Hislop).

Pergamos became the center of the official religion of emperor worship. A temple for this was erected at Pergamos in 27 BC, when Cyrus conquered Babylon and founded a new center at Pergamos and the king of Pergamos became Pontifex Maximus (high priest), of that pagan system (Pember). Both Hislop and Pember trace the subsequent transfer of the cult from Pergamos to Rome, with the appointment of successive Caesars as high priest and ultimately, to that office in 378 AD of Damasus, the Bishop of Rome, with the complete and permanent absorption of "Babylonianism" into the Roman Church.

In 312 AD, Constantine claimed a vision from God and declared his conversion to Christianity. He assumed headship of the Church, repealed the persecution edicts of Diocletian and advanced Christians to high office in the state.

It was only a small step to convert the worship of the queen of heaven (Semiramis and her son) to the worship of Mary and an infant Jesus.

*(Most of this information on the background of Pergamos was taken (but modified by me) from Chuck Missler's supplemental notes on The Book of Revelation, pages 29 - 32, Koinonia House inc., 1995. Missler used information from Hislop and Pember.  Missler has more to say about the background of Pergamos than what I have here.)

 

I have recently read that the great altar of Zeus is now undergoing restoration.

 

Prophetic application of this church on Earth is from 312 AD to about 600 AD (the Papacy).

 

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

Out of Jesus mouth comes a two-edged sword. His words cut so deep that they affect more than just our body of flesh.

Heb 4:12 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.

 

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.

 

This church at Pergamos dwelled where Satan's seat is (or throne). Satan dwelled in the Babylonian priesthood. The throne spoken of could be that of Zeus but the high priest also had a throne. This throne was originally at Babylon but when Cyrus conquered Babylon, they founded a new center for the priesthood at Pergamos and the king of Pergamos became Pontifex Maximus (high priest), of that pagan system.

The seat of the Pontifex Maximus was moved to Rome at a later date when Attalus III gave Pergamos to Rome in his last will and testament (Agee, Revelation 2000, p68). The city of Rome is where many believe the seat of Satan is now located. In the future, at the time of the tribulation, Satan's seat will be moved back to Babylon. Some even say there is an actual physical throne that was moved from Babylon to Pergamos and that this throne is now located in the Vatican.

Jesus had commendation for this church because although they were in the heart of paganism, they did not deny his name or deny their faith in Him. Antipas may have been the dentist and physician accused of disloyalty to Caesar. Legend has it that he was condemned to death by being shut up in a brazen bull heated until red-hot (Tertuillian legend).

 

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.

 

We see in this verse that one of the problems Jesus had with this church is there were those in it who had the doctrine of Balaam. This prophet for hire taught the enemies of Israel how to get God to curse Israel. This was done by enticing them with women so that they would fornicate with the pagans, intermarry, worship their gods and thus corrupt Israel from within. In those days, some were teaching that the Church was free to sin with the things of the world (Gnosticism). We see in the prophetic time of this church on earth that this fornication with the world caused a spiritual disaster. The Church became infiltrated by Babylonian practices.

 

*Some pagan practices introduced to the Church during this period include:

·                 The Rosary

·                 Celibacy of the clergy 

·                 Prayers for the dead

·                 Adoration of saints and angels

·                 Worship of Mary with child

·                 The Mass 

·                 Priests dressing in clothing similar to pagan priests

·                 Extreme unction

·                 Doctrine of a Purgatory

·                 Worship in Latin

·                 Prayers directed to Mary instead of to God

 

* Most of the bullets have been modified from Tim Lahaye s - Revelation Illustrated And Made Plain - 1977, p37. Lahaye adds dates and some additional practices that I did not list here.

 

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, 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.

The deeds of the Nicolaitans that Jesus hated in the first century had become doctrines in the third century. The doctrines that Jesus hated included the Babylonian doctrines incorporated into the Church by Gnosticism. He also hated the Babylonian practice of establishing a ruling priesthood over the laity. This practice allowed a departure from teaching the word of God to a methodology for enslaving the laity and corrupting them by religious rituals, traditions of men, and idolatry.

God said He Himself will fight against heresy in this church with His own word. He actually did do that in this time period. The Canon of scripture was accepted and the Church declared early in this period that Gnosticism was heretical. Those who taught such doctrine were labeled as heretics. Unfortunately, the Church did not reject the world system it played the harlot with and it retained the self enlightened priesthood clergy and the Babylonian practices that had now become doctrine.

 

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.

The hidden manna is the bread of life. It is the word of God both in person and in letter. In some parts of the Roman justice system, the jurors were given a white and a black stone. When the white stone was cast, it indicated that the person on trial was judged innocent. Those in Jesus are judged innocent and are given white stones of innocence if we are washed in His blood for forgiveness of our sins. Jesus will also give the overcomers a new name written upon the white stone at His judgment of rewards. (The word translated here as "in",  more likely means "on" or "upon").

 

4. Thyatira: The church that committed adultery with the satanic religion of Babylon

Background: Thyatira was an important military city founded by Alexander three hundred years before Christ. Thyatira stood at the junction of three main roads leading to Pergamos, Sardis and Smyrna. It became a well-known center for trade guilds and dyes for purple/scarlet cloth. The word Thyatira comes from two words meaning, "sacrifice" and "continual" The similarity between the meaning of the name and the continual sacrifice offered during the Mass in Roman Catholicism is not just a coincidence.

*The Chaldean priest who interpreted the esoteric doctrines of the Babylonian mysteries was (believe it or not) called Peter. The meaning of Peter in their language was "the interpreter". He wore an insignia of the two keys of the pagan gods Janus and Cybele. These two keys still appear on the papal arms as symbols of spiritual authority.

*Modified from Chuck Missler's supplemental notes on The Book of Revelation , page 46, Koinonia House inc., 1995.

 

This is also the primary reason why some erroneously think Saint Peter controls the gates to heaven.

 

Prophetic applications of this church on Earth are from about 600 AD. until the Church is completed during the tribulation.

 

This church on earth today is known today primarily as the Roman Catholic Church and may include Orthodox Catholics as well. This is the first of four churches whose time on earth continues unto the end times. The message Jesus speaks to these last four churches makes an end time prophetic application fairly clear. One reason we think that the previous three churches mentioned do not continue on earth is because we see no prophetic message about the coming of Jesus in the letters to them, but the Lord's coming is at least implied in the last four letters. Another reason is that we can see each of the first three church age types being totally replaced by a historical successor but none of the last four churches have been totally replaced by any successor, they still exist as visible entities on the earth.

 

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;

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.

The Son of God with eyes like a flame of fire knows that this church has works of charity, service, faith and patience. The passage implies that in the last days of this church they will do even more good works than in her first days. The Catholics have done much charity and service over the centuries. Today her stand against the abomination of abortion, the faithless practice of birth control and the feminization of Christianity is admirable. I think her good works will continue to increase as the rest of the world continues on the downward spiral of selfishness, materialism and no moral absolutes.

 

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.

Jesus has a few things against this church. It seems that a women Jesus identifies as Jezebel and who called herself a prophetess taught His servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Jezebel is the wicked queen of the Old Testament who married the king of Israel and influenced him to accept the gods of the pagans. She worshiped Babylonian gods and sought to kill all of YHWH's (Yahweh's or Jehovah's) prophets. Like ancient Jezebel, this woman represents all who bring in false pagan and satanic teachings. Some of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, like Jezebel, brought in Babylonian practices and these leaders like the Jezebel of the Old Testament had a bloody history of killing God's people.

 

*Some of the teachings and practices that this Jezebel incorporated into Roman Catholic Church practice

·                 The Pope as the vicar of Christ

·                 Holy images and relics

·                 Use of holy water to bless someone or something

·                 The canonization of dead saints

·                 The celibacy of the priesthood

·                 Using prayer beads

·                 The inquisitions

·                 The sale of Indulgences

·                 Transubstantiation

·                 Adoration of the wafer

·                 The Bible was forbidden to laymen

·                 The wine cup was forbidden to people at communion

·                 Doctrine of purgatory decreed

·                 Doctrine of seven sacraments affirmed

·                 Jesuit order was founded to enforce papal authority

·                 Tradition was granted equal authority with the Bible

·                 Apocryphal books were added to the Holy Canon

·                 Immaculate Conception of Mary declared

·                 Infallibility of Pope declared

·                 Assumption of the Virgin Mary was declared

·                 Mary proclaimed the Mother of the Church

 

* Most of the bullets have been modified from Tim Lahaye s - Revelation Illustrated And Made Plain - 1977, p44. Lahaye adds dates and some additional practices that I have not listed here.

I think it is important to note that a few things have changed in the Roman Catholic Church. Today the Bible is not forbidden to laymen and the cup is not forbidden to people at communion. It is also important to understand that the people of the Roman Catholic Church are not Jezebel. Some Jezebel leadership influenced them just as Israel became influenced by their own queen named Jezebel. After the rapture of the true Church when all faithful Christians are gone from this earth the Jezebels that remain in the Vatican will head the woman Jezebel that rides the Beast. This is all described in detail in chapter seventeen of Revelation.

 

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

Jesus gave the Jezebel leadership space to repent. It has now been over 1400 years; the Papacy and leadership could have changed its doctrine from within but now with a few exceptions it seems quite impossible for this to happen because it has incorporated a doctrine of infallibility that prevents it from changing past mistakes. Jesus actually says, she will not repent. Jesus knows this because He knows the end from the beginning. He also knows the satanic forces that have infiltrated this church.

 

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.

Jesus is very clear that those who embrace the practices that the Jezebel leadership brought into this church will suffer the great tribulation unless they repent of their adultery by rejecting the satanic Babylonian practices that were established. The fact that they can repent of their deeds implies that some will. The great tribulation is the time spoken of that will try men's souls at the cost of their physical lives. Jezebel in the Old Testament was destroyed and the dogs ate her bones. This Jezebel will also be destroyed and the Beast that she rides into the great tribulation (See chapter 17) will eat her bones.

 

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.

The promise to those that join with Jezebel is death to her children. This prophetically is talking about a great tribulation for the offspring of this church in the future. Jesus will certainly be fair about what He gives to each who identify with this assembly because He looks at the heart and the fruit of each individual.

 

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.

Those who do not embrace the Babylonian doctrine of Jezebel that comes from Satan will have no other burden put on them. He implies it is burden enough just being a Catholic Christian that loves Him and wants no part in the deep things from Satan that have infiltrated this church.

Those who do not embrace the Babylonian practices within this church have the promise that faith in Jesus is all they need. Jesus says there will be some overcomers in this church on earth when He comes. It appears that some in this church will go with him in the pretribulation rapture. We can clearly see by the statement to hold fast till I come that Thyatira will be one of the four types of churches on earth in the days of His return.

 

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.

Since Jesus already said those not involved with pagan practices only need to hold fast until He comes in the rapture, I think these last verses are to those who go into the tribulation that tries the whole world. These need to keep doing good works in the tribulation until the end. Many will be purified by fire during this time of trial.

The power over the nations promised, is the promise to rule and reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years when Jesus rules the nations with a rod of iron.

Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

The morning star is Jesus. He is the first light in the world.

Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

 

These are great promises to those Catholics who have true faith in Jesus and do not take part in the pagan practices that have infiltrated their church.

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