This was told to St. John when the LORD appeared to him on the Island of Patmos:
REV 1:19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
John saw the LORD in His radiant splendor that day and previously at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17).
REV 1:1b And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
St. John saw these things: He was there when Christ was crucified and “washed us from our sins in His own blood”. (Rev 1:5)
“THE THINGS WHICH ARE”
“The things which are” would include the seven ekklesia or assemblies or churches which were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
Christians can learn from these churches “the good, the bad and the ugly”. The ugly are those things the LORD hates! They should have no place in Christiandom for they will have no place in the Kingdom of God!
A theory about these seven churches includes a chronological viewpoint which does have some value. It seems to make some sense from a limited view of the 19th century. According to this chronological viewpoint, we are in the Laodicean Age.
However, some Christians NOW are very passionate about the LORD and are willing to lay down their lives for Him just like the church of Smyrna! This assembly received NO rebuke from the LORD. How could you receive a rebuke when you are willing to be martyred? Yet, in this century, more people have died for the LORD than ever before! Just ask ministries that aid the persecuted church.
Another church that had NO rebuke from the LORD was the Church of Philadelphia for they “kept My word, and have not denied My name”. (REV 3:8) Yet many people hold to the Word of God today just as the Church of Philadelphia 2000 years ago!
In European history, the hierarchy of a “church” that was in power, at that time, martyred many saints who were trying to get the Word of God into the common language!
Today, China has rewritten their own version of the Bible but it has cut out many passages to suit their own communist agenda. So please keep a proper version of the Bible in a book form because somebody will attempt to change it online! It wouldn’t be that hard!
So these “things which are”, while they existed then, continue to this very present day! We see a double fulfillment in these letters to the Churches: one then and one continuing on and into the future.
My purpose is to write about the apostasies of these churches, in order to avoid people falling prey to these deceits.
Some of these churches may have lost their candlestick and are no longer part of the true Church, but they appear to be churches, but not the true Church. Yet, there will be true believers or overcomers in every church! But today in some churches, there are unbelievers, too. Now, here’s a parable taught by the LORD.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
31 … “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Ravenous birds are out there! They don’t belong to the Kingdom of Heaven but they come and nest in it’s branches!
Some people come to church and they are saved by faith through the blood of Jesus Christ and the grace of God.
But some people come to church and they are there to infiltrate! Some so-called “pastors” or speakers are meant to infiltrate! They are the “birds” of this parable. They may not even know they are infiltrators, but sincerely wish to “enlighten” people with strange ideas. Maybe some are really Christians but are naïve and have been led astray. Don’t be deceived! Know the instructions in your Scripture. Be like the Bereans “who searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”. (ACTS 17:11)
Everything spiritual must be backed up by the Word of God.
JOHN 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
The Great Apostasy
2 Thessalonians 2 (NKJV)
2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Many denominations have people that are heretics and many blindly follow them. Many ministers in the USA don’t believe in the foundational virgin birth of Jesus Christ! This is largely due to Freemasons* getting into seminaries for over a century. The intent of the Freemasons is to infiltrate the church and unfortunately they have done this. Many “pastors”, who should be the bulwark of the community, are giving way to such things in their churches that are not scriptural, including abortion and the perverse movement.
(*See “The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry” (1869) by Rev. C. G. FINNEY online)
2 Peter 2
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Do not be deceived!
A so-called recent “Christian” writer wrote: “These verses are a wonderful promise from God Himself showing us that He will not allow His children to be deceived.”
And she knows the Bible? How can you miss so many “Do not be deceived” in the New Testament, speaking to believers?
God’s Word says:
1 Corinthians 6:9 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…
Galatians 6:7 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV) Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
James 1:16 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Matthew 24:24 (NKJV) For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Pray for the gift of discernment and be not deceived!
The following chapters to come will include a blueprint in the Book of Revelation for apostasy so that we may avoid these pitfalls!