The Messages to the 7 Ecclesias-page 2
APPLICATION 2: AD96 to the return of Christ
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NOTE– dates given are as accurate as possible -
and the author acknowledges that this application
was first set out with the same basic plan by
H.P. Mansfield in 'The Apocalypse Epitomised'
pages 25 & 26.
Ephesus: AD96-303 ch.2v1-7
This period covered the decline from the Truth which was set
out in detail on page 1. It resulted in the total separation of
the true believers from all false representations of so-called
"Christianity", but which had become so in name only, and
was simply paganism concealed within-Matthew 7v15. The
true ecclesia "tried them which say they are apostles, and
are not, and hast found them liars". Those who were diss-
enters "fled into the wilderness" from the new 'church-state',
i.e. 'Pagan-Christian' Rome, which now proceeded to perse-
cute all who would not bow to her unscriptural demands-
Link to 'departure'. See Revelation 12v6,14-17.
The ecclesia's "first love" needed to be regained - see page 1.
Smyrna: AD303-604 ch.2v8-11
There were now the ecclesia, various dissenters, & "the syna-
gogue of the satan"- re 'the satan' link to 'satan'..the period
began with 10 day-years of persecution from AD303-313,
when "the devil" (pure paganism) used its last imperial eff-
orts to persecute the "Christian" body- Revelation 12v7-13.
Once false "Christianity" was installed in power, the new
'church-state' began to persecute all dissenters, including
the true believers. And then the bishop of Rome, in what is
popularly known as a 'power-grab', eventually managed to
gain the ascendancy over fellow apostate bishops. This unsav-
ory and totally unscriptural practice reached its climax in the
years AD604-610, when the Emperor Phocas passed decrees
establishing the bishop of Rome as supreme "church" head.
The exhortation of Peter to forego "filthy lucre" had by now
been long forgotten, 1st Peter 5v1-4. Link to 'foundation' p.2.
Pergamos: AD604-1215 ch.2v8-17
This period began with the Roman bishop gaining the ascend-
ancy by the decrees of Phocas, & this evil order of men spent
the next 1260 years trying to consolidate their power. The
"doctrine(s)of Balaam"&"the Nicolaitanes"(p.1)were embrac-
ed with fervour, and any resemblance to the principles of 1st
century purity of the Faith was impossible to find. During this
period the formal "inquisitions" began, which continued for
centuries whilst the Roman bishop had the power to perpe-
trate such evil and cruel procedures. The "Holy Roman Em-
pire" began, as prophesied, with emperor and bishop in an
unholy alliance. This suited both for the sake of present ad-
vantage, although they often disagreed, intellectually and also
militarily. This evil alliance of expediency will be copied when
Russia & Rome make their bid for world dominion very soon
-link to 'the Lord's day'& follow current events in 'prophecy'.
Thyatira: AD1215-1572 ch.2v18-29
The"man of sin" probably attained to his highest point under
the evil reign of the mis-named Innocent III, who cemented
the bondage of Catholics by the Fourth 'Lateran Council' de-
cree of confession to a priest instead of God. He also invented
the blasphemous doctrine of 'transubstantiation'. As one wri-
ter has said- "For most of the time he encompassed Christen-
dom with terror. He crowned and deposed sovereigns, put na-
tions under interdict, virtually created the (Catholic) states
across central Italy from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic'-
Peter de Rosa- 'Vicars of Christ'. It was indeed a far cry from
the humble fisherman from whom Rome has falsely claimed
her authority- this blasphemy is exposed - link to 'foundation'.
During these terrible years, the full extent of Rome's harlotry
became evident..the complaint of Christ against Thyatira was
"thou sufferest that woman Jezebel…..I gave her space to re-
pent of her fornication; and she repented not"- ch. 2v20,21..
link to 'departure' for details of this unfaithfulness.
The number '4' represents Divine authority & organization-
rebels suffer judgment- link to 'the Lord's day'-4th Vision.
Sardis: AD1572-1789 ch.3v1-6
This sad period saw the cessation of the testimony of the "two
witnesses" of Revelation 11v3, which was prophesied to last
for 1260 day-years, i.e. AD312-1572. In AD1572 the
terrible massacre of St. Bartholomew took place.There was a
period of figurative "death" from AD1572-1789*;the last 105
years from AD1685 being the worst when some protection by
the Edict of Nantes was withdrawn. The so-called "reforma-
tion" simply rebelled against several excesses of the Roman
apostacy without challenging its pagan foundations.The"pro-
testants" had drunk too deeply of the harlot's "wine of her
fornication" to do anything but continue her pagan heresies.
All of the parties involved except the true believers were thus
addressed by Christ - "thou hast a name that thou livest, and
(but) thou art dead"- ch.3v1. *ending by edict in AD1790
Philadelphia: AD1789-1898 ch.3v7-13
It is a relief to turn to the next message to Philadelphia. The
Lord tells them He has "set before (them) an open door, and
no man can shut it". Link to 'foundation' for the principles
involved. This was the epoch of the re-discovery of the Truth*
from the rubbish of history, where it had lain unseen and un-
wanted, except for the few, during the dark ages of Rome's
supremacy. Now that pall of superstition and evil was broken
by the French Revolution and Italian nationalism. We see the
total removal of the temporal (political) power of the bishop
of Rome, who is now simply "the false prophet". As the rise
of this apostate system was established during a period of 75
years, i.e. AD529-535 to AD604-610………so its fall likewise
occupied 75 years, i.e. AD1789-1795 to AD1864-1870.The 42
months (1260 day-years) persecution (Rev.11v2,3) was ended.
*as shown by the re-appearance of "the four living creatures"
(Revelation 15v7RV) which prophesies of this epoch;
and other Scriptures endorse this - details on request
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During this time, an Englishman named John Thomas was en-
route to America when the ship in which he was travelling was
in grave danger of being wrecked. Being deeply moved by the
fact that he had little familiarity with the word of God, & its
teaching concerning life & death, he made a vow that if he was
spared, he would not rest until he had found the Truth. By the
providence of God, this was finally achieved. He accepted the
Truth and was baptized in AD1847, living to see the end of the
temporal (political) power of Rome in AD1870, for which he
had been earnestly waiting. During the American civil war,
in order to identify a small body of believers who objected to
taking up arms, he coined the name 'Christadelphian'- which
means 'brother or sister of Christ'..cp Matt.12v50; Heb.2v11.
Link also to 'appeal'.
Another who accepted the Truth was Robert Roberts,& he be-
gan, at the suggestion of John Thomas (who himself had edited
several periodicals setting forth the Truth) a magazine which
was to be known as 'The Christadelphian'. For many years,
under his editorship, this magazine faithfully set forth and also
stood for the Truth in its purity. It is sad to record that this is
no longer the case.Today, there is no magazine which represents
the whole Truth. However, newsletters, emails & skype provide
links amongst those who desire to follow in the footsteps of the
Pioneer brethren, as we term them,and even more importantly,
the steps of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. This web-site is
the latest in our efforts to set the Truth before the inhabitants
of the world, to appeal to Christadelphians separated from us,
and to upbuild each other in our most holy Faith. This period
ended at the death of Robert Roberts in AD1898.
Laodicea: AD1898 to Christ's return ch.3v14-22
This period closely mirrors 'the time of the end'-which appears
to have begun in AD1897 co-incident with the 1st Zionist Con-
gress in Basle, Switzerland. Robert Roberts lived to witness
this long-anticipated movement for the return of Israel, as pro-
phesied in the Bible and written of by John Thomas in 'Elpis
Israel'- link to 'Bible'- page 2.The evils of this age are many, &
well-known to anyone with a modicum of decency. The disas-
trous teaching of "evolution" suits those who wish to evade
any type of responsibility to God, Whom they now deny even
exists. And because God has no place in their affections, imm-
orality and evil abound on every hand. Marriage is generally
considered out-of-date, and open fornication is the norm. The
murder of unborn children is sanctioned without any self-re-
crimination. This has in effect become a substitute for contra-
ception. Paul wrote of "the last days" in these terms-
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, inconti-
nent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady,
highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having
a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such
turn away" cp "even their mind and conscience is defiled".
2nd Timothy 3v1-5 cp Titus 1v15.
No better words could have been chosen to describe this evil age.
They apply equally to "the last days" of Jewish & Gentile times.
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Paul further testifies: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall
not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators,nor idolaters,nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor cov-
etous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners,
shall inherit the kingdom of God" - 1st Corinthians 6v9,10.
Coincidental with these worldly evils of the flesh has come a re-
newed effort by errorists to have their false doctrines adopted
by all in their fellowship. And in this we see a "re-run" of events
which we have documented elsewhere - link to 'departure'.
The "open door" of Philadelphia has now been shut, but Christ
invites those who "hear (His) voice" to "open the door", and
then fellowship will be restored-see page 3 for more details.
Those who uphold the Truth in its purity maintain a separate
identity so that the precious elements of saving doctrine might
be preserved in the earth - link to 'appeal' for more details.
Page 3 will outline APPLICATION 3 of the 'Messages'.
This deals exclusively with the re-discovery of the Truth.
next page return to p.1 return to studies
go to fellowship go to departure go to statement