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Exploring Revelation
313
“The need of the hour Revelation 1:19, 20.”
by Art Sadlier   
August 19th, 2007

Some 60-65 years after Penticost, John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. On that dreary, lonely Isle the Lord allowed John to see some amazing things.

First, John saw into heaven, then John saw into the future. In verse 11, the Lord said, "What thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches."

The Lord allowed John to look into heaven and see Jesus in all His glory. Then He said in verse 19, "write the things which thou hast seen." John, behold My glory, describe it in words and send it to the seven churches. By divine design it would pass on to the whole church, all the churches of the whole Church Age.

The church in every age, needs to have this picture of their glorified Lord on His throne of glory in heaven. The Lord of the church, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Oh! how we need that today!

As the world of men and women around us plunge deeper and deeper into sin, and evil, and wickedness, ignoring God and His word, we need to have superimposed over it all, Christ on His Throne of Glory.

As the professing church slips deeper and deeper into apostasy and lukewarmness, we need to look up and see the Lord of Glory on the throne of the universe in great Power, and Majesty, and Glory.

I think of the song, "God is still on the throne, and He will remember His own, though trials may press us, and troubles distress us, He never will leave us alone, God is still on the throne."

Oh! We live in an hour in which we desperately need that perspective!

After giving John a glimpse into heaven, the Lord gave John a prophecy, (Rev.1:3) "The words of this prophecy." Everything John writes from this point on, is a prophecy. The Book of Revelation from chapter 2 to 22 is prophecy revealing future things.

That prophecy is divided into two sections, notice what they are, (vs.19) John lived in the Church Age as we do. The first section of the prophecy involves the Church Age from its beginning to its close. It involves the church of Ephesus and goes right on down to the church of Laodicea at the close of the Church Age.

The first prophecy, "the things which are," is recorded in Rev.2 and 3. It was all prophecy when John wrote it. It is now virtually all history.

Then, we have the second set of prophecies, "the things which shall be hereafter." Hereafter what? Hereafter the Church Age. So from chapter 4 to the end of the Book, we have prophecies about events and things, and situations that will occur after the Church Age is over.

We have chapter 4 to 18, The Tribulation Period. Chapter 19, we have the Return of Christ. Chapter 20, The Millenium. Chapter 21, and 22, Eternity Future.

UNDERSTAND, somehow God allowed John to actually see, look upon, all these prophetic events and see them in progress.

Notice the terms which occur throughout the book. "The things which thou hast seen", "I looked" (many times) "I saw (many times) "I heard".

We want to think upon the first set of prophecies concerning the seven churches.

FIRST They were seven literal churches in seven different geographical locations and they actually existed in John's day.

SECOND Because the messages to the churches were a prophecy, we now, after the fact, can compare these prophecies with Church History. When we do, we discover that each of the seven churches actually represent seven distinct periods of Church History. Their peculiar circumstances, characteristics, failures and blessings are found emphasized and dominant in different periods of Church History.

THIRDLY Some of the characteristics, strengths, weakness, and sins of each of the seven churches are found in some of the churches in every period of time. The first three churches, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, came upon the world scene successively. They each had their day and passed off the scene.

The last four churches, each in turn, came upon the scene, had their day of ascendancy and prominence. They too went into decline but remain on the world scene until the end of the age.

It is significant that each of the last four churches have suggestions of the Rapture and the Tribulation Period in their respective letters. Only the sixth church, Philadelphia, is promised to escape the Tribulation Period. (Rev.3:10) The implication is that the other three will be overcome by apostasy. The implication is that they will be decommissioned as churches, (have their candlesticks removed) and be incorporated into the Last Days' Apostate Harlot Church.

Now, the stage is set to begin the story of the individual churches in chapters two and three.

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