Seven Churches in New Jerusalem


For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire,
and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words,
so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.

(For they could not endure what was commanded:
“And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly
and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven,
to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men ma
de perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,
and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth,
much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying,
“Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken,
as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace,
by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:18-29)


Introduction

I suspect that approximately 5 billion men, women and children—all of whom will know Jesus—will find ourselves suddenly living together soon in the heavenly City of New Jerusalem with Jesus. This is not the heaven of heavens quite yet. Our residence in that City will, I believe, last only 7 years (according to Earth time). After that we’ll return to earth with Jesus as Part Two of His Second Advent.

Picturing New Jerusalem as an orbiting earth satellite should help make clear that this marvelous city is not the “heaven of heavens” but only a region of the heavens.

At the Rapture Jesus comes from high heaven to lower heaven in THE Cloud, the Shekinah, which evidently serves as a cloaking device during the Tribulation period.

“...widespread is the hope in Scripture of the coming of Christ again to this earth. This is what we pray for when we pray in the Lord's prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The hope that God himself will dwell among men, and mankind itself will be his dwelling place. He "shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," and then shall be introduced and fulfilled all the glorious dramas and visions of the prophets. If there is any one truth, therefore, that we ought to hold clear and sharp in our minds, it is this great hope of the coming again of Jesus Christ.

Most people, I have found, think of this as a single point of time, a great event which will occur within a reasonably brief period of time. They think this mean Christ will visibly appear, come again to this earth, stand upon it, and beginning at the Mount of Olives will begin to reign throughout the earth, and they feel this is a single great event; one event seen throughout the earth. But a careful study of many Scriptures, both Old and New Testament alike, raises certain questions about that. One question is, "Where does the prediction of Paul in I Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 16-17, fit in when he describes the Lord 'coming with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the sound of the trumpet and the church being caught up together with him in the air?'" This is a very clear description. It is one that has often been quoted and has resulted in describing this event as the "rapture" of the church. Now, the word rapture does not appear in the passage, but it comes from the Greek word which is translated here "caught up." The Latin word for that is "rapere." It is from that that we get our English word rapture. It literally means "to snatch away." I remember during the days of the Jesus movement the hope of the rapture was called the "Great Snatch." I don't think many of them knew what the Greek word meant, nevertheless, they were right on when they described it that way. It is the great catching away of God's people to join the Lord in the air, not on earth, in the air, and as Paul adds, "so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Now, when does that occur, and how does it fit with this sudden appearing of Jesus Christ in great power and glory with flaming fire taking vengeance? There are many question raised here. Another question that that passage awakens in our hearts is, "How could Christ's coming be preceded by unmistakable great signs in the earth, signs in the heavens, darkening of the sun and of the moon, signs on the earth, distress among nations, terrible events in the political and economic world, and at the same time be described as a coming ‘like a thief in the night’ with nobody anticipating him. How could that be? Surely after the fulfillment of visible dramatic signs anybody who has ever had a Bible at all, or known anything about it, would be expecting Christ's return. It could hardly come, then, as an unexpected event, coming as a ‘thief in the night.’ This raises some questions.” (Ray Stedman, The Coming King of Kings).

See also: From Presence to Unveiling also by Ray.

Meanwhile Down on Planet Earth...

All manner of prophecy experts today keep talking about how living down here in earth after the Rapture will be terrible and violent. They seem to all have been Left Behind!

[No one these days apparently really looks forward to seeing Jesus, meeting loved ones who have gone before, or getting acquainted with fellow pilgrims, let alone meeting the great saints of all the ages. Is no one among us eager to take part in the marriage Supper of Jesus? How about our part in the ages to come?]

[Should not our “leaders” be telling us about our unfolding place in history and our glorious future, ruling and reigning with Jesus? Need we be preoccupied with God’s just treatment for all left behind who continue to refuse His mercy and grace? I guess Jesus is fading away into oblivion after all? Too bad His program failed so miserably. I suppose Matthew 6:19-21 has been repealed?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”]

Passports and Visas

I believe those who come to reside in New Jerusalem will move there en masse through the event called the Judgment Seat of Christ. (How long the Bema requires on the New Jerusalem clocks is uncertain).

Every entering resident settling in New Jerusalem will have received his or her new resurrection body en route,

That is, everyone moving in to New Jerusalem to live with Jesus will be free of sin. But social adjustment will be huge for many arriving pilgrims—for those who did not walk with Jesus faithfully during their time on earth.

There will be a class of Excluded Ones outside the City apparently. Yet the twelve gates of the city will permit easy access for those with passports.

It is quite one thing for Christians to adjust to their own racial group, natural family, like-minded community members, and fellow church goers who held to the same beliefs. It is quite difficult for most of us to live amongst fellow Christians having very different cultural of racial beliefs from ours!

I suggest that New Jerusalem may possibly be divided into seven “parishes” reflecting the seven different churches of Revelation 2, 3.

Parish cities have existed down through the centuries but they have they usually had bishops and rulers over them in an hierarchical top down style—a style refuted by the New Testament. Jesus is the Head of the one true Chuch. The counterfeit Chuch has been ruled over by kings and popes and power brokers for 2000 years. Jesus governs His Church by servant authority.

The very plain teaching of Jesus to His disciples should clear the air on this matter.

“...the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.

But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28)

We can expect basic equality to prevail in New Jerusalem but probably few citizens there will arrive knowing the Bible! Surely there will be a great need to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry...”

This educational process in New Jerusalem will apparently not be mostly about “reaching the lost with the gospel” but in healing the broken body of Christ with accurate Bible knowledge of what lies ahead for us. Much prayer will be appropriate in an atmosphere of worship.

“...to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Body Life as taught in the New Testament is not widely taught, nor lived out in small groups these days. Top-down management by a paid professional clergy (Nicolatianism) is very common. Management by committees is another default mode for churches everywhere today.

There is much about the Rapture of the Church that is neglected or glossed over by today’s churches!

In regard to evangelism down on the planet during the Tribulation period, Jesus will lead a special team of Jewish believers with the result that millions will come to know Jesus. God has not given up on our race at all. He is not willing that any should perish!

Our seven years' residence with Jesus in New Jerusalem, will feature for us theCity’s multidimensional time and space nuances. We should have plenty of tune learning from along great teachers, discovering what we failed to learn in Sunday School, Home Bible School or Seminary. We may have a lot of social adjusting and refinement of personal-relationships to catch up on, before we return to the planet with Jesus at His grand Second Advent, Phase Two. There will be plenty of time plus all truth for a change, with no error mixed in, and no boring sermons. Plenty of Bibles around, I assume!

“...continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Our Grand Return to Earth with Jesus

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”


And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints...

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

(Revelation 19:1-16)


 

Angels of the Churches

For the sake of completeness, the seven churches each apparently have an angel over them. Angels are not now visible to us. Will they be out in the open and visible to us in New Jerusalem? The age to come will not be managed by angels, Hebrews 2:8.

“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20)

The Twenty Four Elders

There are several views about the elders, prominent in Revelation 4.

“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” (Revelation 4:2-4)

Ray Stedman says,

John sees...the companions of God, the court of heaven,

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders[or ancients]. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. (Revelation 4:4 NIV)

There has been much debate as to who these twenty-four elders represent. Many commentators take them to be redeemed saints, both of the Old and New Testaments; twelve elders of Israel and twelve apostles. I have to tell you that for many years I held that view myself. I have changed my view because, for one thing, I have always been troubled by the fact that if these are the twelve patriarchs and the twelve apostles, then John was one of them for he was one of the twelve apostles. Is he seeing himself seated there? It does not make sense, does it? They were viewed as saints because they wore white robes and they have victors' crowns upon their heads. This has suggested to many that they have conquered evil and so wear crowns, and their robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. But there are other reasons for crowns and robes as we shall see in a moment.

I have now come to see that this group is probably what Daniel and other Old Testament prophets saw when they looked into heaven. In the fourth chapter of Daniel the prophet is called before King Nebuchadnezzar to interpret a dream of the King; a dream of a great tree which is cut down and only the stump remains. Daniel's interpretation was that the tree was Nebuchadnezzar himself and it meant his crown would be taken away from him for a period of seven years, he would lose his mind and be turned out to eat grass like a horse or a cow for the seven years. Then his throne and his authority would be restored to him. When Daniel tells the king this he puts it in this way.

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones. (Daniel 4:17a KJV)

There are others associated with God's judgment upon this king who are called "watchers" and "holy ones."The verse continues:

...to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest of men. (Daniel 4:17b KJV)

That may also explain why we have had certain politicians in office! In the seventh chapter of Daniel the prophet makes a somewhat similar reference. There Daniel, too, saw into heaven, and this is what he saw,

I beheld till thrones [plural] were placed, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands ministered with him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set[or, as the NIV puts it, 'The court was seated'] and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9-10 KJV)

So Daniel also saw thrones surrounding the throne of God upon which individuals were seated who entered into the judgments and decisions of God. In the 26th verse of that same 7th chapter, Daniel says:

But the judgment shall sit: [or 'the court will sit'; and, with reference to the anti-Christ] they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (Dan 7:26 KJV)

Once again, there is a reference to this council in Psalms 89:6-7,

For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him. (Psalm 89:6-7 NIV)

So who are the twenty-four elders? I believe that they are angels who are put in charge of the present age. They are a body of twenty-four intelligent, powerful angels associated with the government of God, especially with regard to fallen angels and redeemed people. They are wearing crowns because they are victors in their battles with Satan; and they are wearing white robes because these are righteous angels who have refused to join the rebellion of the devil.” Supreme Headquarters, messages in Revelation.



Seven Churches in New Jerusalem

In the last book of the Bible there are seven letters to seven churches, Chapters 2,3, preceding a vision in heaven of the throne room of God. There is no further mention of church or churches after 4:1 until the closing chapters.

But believers from each church will all be caught up together in the Rapture. That is, expect to see Seven Churches in New Jerusalem. The dead wood and error will all be gone, of course, and each church as described in Revelation 2 and 3 will be perfected and complete.

The Seven Churches represent seven stages of church history but these churches also exist today. Each church has enjoyed its heyday during a particular period of history.

To know more about these churches I recommend Ray Stedman’s series on Revelation and Chuck Missler’s detailed analysis of all seven.

Find Yourself in one of the seven churches

It is true that the general state of the church of Jesus Christ today is Laodicean. But as an individual Christian today attending a particular local church which you may personally be attending,—you may have some different beliefs compared to the status beliefs of your church. Your core beliefs define which of the seven churches you identify with the most. If you have never belonged to a local church, read the descriptors of each of the seven churches and see which group best fits what you know and believe! Pay special attention to the “overcomers” in each church and aim for that place in heaven. Why settle for second (or third) best?

The Overcomers in Each Group

Ephesus: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

Smyrna: “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’

Pergamos: “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

Thyatira: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Sardis: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”


Other Notes

The Church as a Living Building

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

The Church as Body of Christ/Bride of Christ

Jesus has been quietly building His church since he discussed this with His disciple Peter.

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

 


Demographics of New Jerusalem (highly tentative)

Ephesus
The Apostolic Age 32-100 AD

32-100 AD (~70 years, 2 generations @40 years per generation)

Total Christians from this church in history past:
5% of 300 million per generation or 30 million.

The total world population at this time was about 300 million.

From 100 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 100 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Smyrna
The Persecuted Church

160-320 (~160 years, 4 generations)
Total Christians from this church in history past:

The total world population at this time was about 300 million.

From ~320 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 320 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Pergamum
The Medieval Church

320-600 (~280 years, 7 generations)

Total Christians from this church in history past:

The total world population at this time was about 350 million.

From 600 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 100 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about ~7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Thyatira
The Catholic and Eastern Church

300-1500 (~1200 years, 30 generations)
Total Christians from this church in history past:

The total world population at this time was about 400 million.

From 1500 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 100 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Sardis
The Church of the Reformation

1500-1650 (~150 years, 4 generations)
Total Christians from this church in history past:

The total world population at this time was about 450 million.

From 1650 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 100 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Philadelphia
The Evangelical Church

1850-1930 (~80 years, 2 generations)
Total Christians from this church in history past:
5% of 500 million times 2, or 200 million.

The total world population at this time was about 500 million.

From 1930 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 100 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. (This is the total integrated area under the population growth curve below).

Laodicea
The Church at the End of the Age

1930-present (~90 years, 3 generations)

Total Christians from this church in history till now, 5% of 3 billion times 3 or 450 million.

The total world population at this time averaged was about 3 billion.

From 1930 AD until now perhaps x millions have come under the umbrella of this church.

Since 1930 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7 billion. Assuming a 5% conversion rate per generation for ~3 generations is about billion Christians. The total number of Christians at the time of the Rapture from 32 AD to now would appear to be 270 million. Our assumed conversion rate of 5% of the population per generation is conservative. Dare we assume the Rapture will catch away 500 million living believers of whom a few will be alive on earth on the day of the Rapture.

The total world population from Adam to Noah was about 5-7 billion persons. From Noah to Jesus: about 300-500 million total, Grand Total population, Adam to now, until now, est. 15-100 billion.


General Background

In the last book of the Bible there are seven letters to seven churches, preceding a vision in heaven of the throne room of God. There is no further mention of church or churches after 4:1 until chapter 19.

Several commentators have noted that the church is not mentioned from 4:1 to 18:1. Why is this? The church is not of earth but in “heaven” after the Rapture until the Second Advent of Jesus. All Christians, several billion of us, will be in heaven (i.e., in New Jerusalem) after 4:1. We’ll be alive and well there with our new bodies and with Jesus for the seven year interval between the parousia and the epiphania of our Lord Jesu

At any point in history, since the first century, each of the seven churches could be found active in the world.

But all believers from each of the seven churches will be caught up together in the Rapture. That is, expect to see Seven Churches in New Jerusalem. The dead wood will all be gone of course and each church as described in Revelation 2 and 3 will have been perfected and complete. The “left behind” church will coalesce into the false church of the end time

The Seven Churches represent seven stages of church history but each of these churches exists today. If you enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus you should be able to identify which of the seven church types you most closely identify with. Therefore any one who embraced Christ as Lord down through 2000 years was automatically identified with one of the seven churches when they died.

For instance, followers of Jesus who have suffered for their faith or been martyred will have an affinity for Smyrna. Calvinists and Reformed Christians will identify with Sardis. The multitudes from nominal Christian backgrounds should find their place in Laodicea. Traditionalists from Orthodox or Roman Catholic backgrounds should feel at home with Pergamos or Thyatira.

I have no problem strongly identifying with Philadelphia. That era flourished briefly after the Reformation,

From Ray Stedman,

“...The church of Philadelphia foreshadows the great Evangelical Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries, following the time of declension among the Reformation churches: The Moravian Brethren in Germany began to meet in small groups for prayer, catching again a vision of God and what he could do, and eventually sent out missionaries to other parts of the world. It began in England as the movement which we call the Puritan Movement. John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim's Progress, was one of these Puritans; John Newton, whose hymns we sing so often, was another. This Awakening also encompasses the great Wesleyan Revelationival and George Whitefield's preaching in both England and America. In this country it includes the movement called the Great Awakening, with Jonathan Edwards as one of its leaders, and the Methodist Circuit Riders who rode horseback up and down the Eastern seaboard, later expanding westward when the nation began to move west. I personally have been benefited by one of these men, called Brother Van, who came to the Territory of Montana shortly after it began to be populated because of the gold rush. He went into the saloons and mining camps of Montana and preached the gospel, winning hundreds to Christ. He started churches all over the state, most of which are still there, but I'm afraid not doing very well. This was also a time of revival of missionary interest: William Carey in England got a vision of the need of India and eventually went out there and planted the gospel in a great work in that country. Robert Moffet and his famous son-in-law, David Livingstone, went to Africa and did marvelous work there. The American missionary, Adoniram Judson, went out to Burma and pioneered a work in that country. Hudson Taylor went to minister in inland China.

We have many other great missionary names that come out of this period of history. It is also the time of the emergence of great evangelists whose names we all remember -- George Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon (a pastor, but also a great evangelist), Charles Finney here in this country, and D. L. Moody, who left a great work behind him. All of these were foreshadowed by this church of Philadelphia which came alive amidst the death that characterized many other churches.”

The Church as a Building

The true church is not about cathedrals and tents or buildings or even open-air crusades.
Yet the true church is a living temple:

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
and

“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
(1 Peter 2:4-10)

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
(Ephesians 2:19-22)

The Seven Churches in New Jerusalem

I estimate that about five billion followers of Jesus Christ will be transported from earth to New Jerusalem at the Rapture! The culture shock upon arrival will be enormous!

The main portal into New Jerusalem is known as the Bema Seat, or The Judgment Seat of Christ.

We will have new bodies of course, and Jesus will be there in person with us. Hypocrisy and compromise will be unknown. We will live as whole persons no longer as mere church goers or nominal believers. I have put together a bunch of articles imaging what life in New Jerusalem will be like for us. I have written these articles with my very best “sanctified imagination.” Please feel to disagree with anything I have written.

My main point is that we Christians will not be an amorphous body living in New Jerusalem but a seven-fold community of saints each distinct and unique! There is much, much more that can be said about living together with Jesus forever as one great family—men, women, children—all ages, all nations.


For your reference, a full commentary on the Book of the Revelation is available. The notes in this article are very brief and presuppose that the reader has some knowledge of the last book of the Bible, especially Chapters 2 and 3.

The history of seven periods of church history from the first century until now has been note by many commentators. Each church has had its “day in the sun” as the prominent church of its day.

The Church in the Mirror

The Church as Body of Christ/Bride of Christ

The True Church during the Tribulation

The Church at the End of the Age

The Table of Nations

Please follow the links and “do your own homework.” Be a good Berean as Chuck Missler taught us.

“...the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11)


Text of Revelation Chapters 2, 3.

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,

‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

“Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”

 


Spiritual Warfare and the Church

The Biblically Illiterate Church

Jesus and His Church During the Tribulation

 


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Lambert@ldolphin.org

February 24, 2019
March 10, 2019