The Messages to the 7 Ecclesias-page 3
APPLICATION 3: AD1847 to the return of Christ
The Christadelphians in Biblical Prophecy
One vital point should be noted. Because this 3rd
application of the messages deals with the period
of the re-discovery of the Truth since AD1847, it
outlines those events which have occurred within
"Christadelphia". It will therefore be of intense
interest to all those who would be numbered with
the faithful at the coming of Christ.
In many ways, these last-day periods are the most remarkable of
them all. It is incredible to realise that the messages which Jesus
Christ gave to the 7 Ecclesias in the Apocalypse over 1900 years
ago are still being worked out before our very eyes today. And it
can initially make us feel inadequate for the task ahead. But this
has always been the lot of God's people, a "permanent minority"
during their pilgrimage. We are encouraged by the words of the
Apostle Paul - "If God be for us, who can be against us?". Also,
"there is no restraint to Yahweh to save by many or by few"...
"God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the
things which are mighty" to the end "that no flesh should glory
in his presence" - Romans 8v31;1st Sam. 14v6;1st Cor. 1v27,29.
These last-day epochs are marked by 7 'decision-points', when
the attempted introduction of various heresies was resisted by
the faithful. Since the Pioneer brothers have fallen asleep in the
Lord, the course of "Christadelphia" has been ever downward.
This was inevitable, and has resulted in the Laodicean state now
so evident amongst the majority. Those wishing to maintain the
Truth in its purity have had no alternative but to maintain a
On page 2, under 'Philadelphia' and 'Laodicea', we saw that the
re-emergence of the Truth, as identified with a distinct body of
people, was pre-figured in the elements of these two messages.
What follows is an exposition of the subsequent events.
Ephesus: AD1866-1868 ch.2v1-7
When the Truth emerged from the darkness of the "churches",
the ecclesias "tried them which say they are apostles, and are
not, and….. found them liars". And also, said Christ - "thou
hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitaines " - sig. 'the conquerors of
the people'. "Priests" and "ministers" were alike repudiated.
This division involved basic doctrinal errors, such as "immortal
souls", "a fallen angel devil", etc., which heresies totally destroy
the Truth. These errors were dealt with by the faithful. Note also
the warning - "thou hast left thy first love" and "remember
from whence thou hast fallen" i.e. from the "heavenly places in
Christ" Ephesians 1v3 - see page 1. It is significant that Christ
promises the faithful: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat
of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God".
This undeniably identifies the setting of these basic errors,under-
lining the connection with the serpent's lie, & the lies of the seed
of the serpent, as shown above - Genesis 3v4,5; John 8v44.
Those withdrawn from because of error were called 'Dowieites'.
Smyrna: AD1873 ch.2v8-11
The 2nd division involved the denial of the truth concerning the
Sacrifice of Christ. Without its comprehension and acceptance,
there can be no salvation. Christ identifies Himself as "the first
and the last, which was dead, and is alive".The connection is un-
deniable. He is only alive now because of the condemnation of
sin in the flesh, Romans 8v3 cp Hebrews 2v14- link to 'sacrifice'.
Any teaching which denies this cannot give salvation. It is tragic
that this same heresy, dressed in a different garb, has of recent
times almost obliterated the truth of this vital subject amongst
the main group of "Christadelphians".
Note also "the devil" is shown as the enemy - cp Hebrews 2v14.
Those retaining the error became "the synagogue of the satan"
(Grk.) "which say they are (spiritual) Jews, and (but) are not".
Note Romans 2v29 - "But he is a (spiritual) Jew, which is one
inwardly..whose praise is not of men, but of God".
Those "faithful unto death" would receive "a crown of life".
The promoters of this error were called 'Renunciationists'. This
was because they renounced the truth which they had believed.
Exactly the same thing has happened in our own days - adoption
of 'clean flesh' (neo-renunciationism) has brought ruin to many.
For fuller details see the messages to 'Philadelphia'&'Laodicea'.
Pergamos: AD1885 ch.2v12-17
The 3rd division was brought about through the introduction of
the heresy of "partial inspiration" - i.e. that the Bible is not to-
tally inspired and unerring. This abominable error was strongly
promoted by two ex- "ministers", who, after being unmasked,
duly returned to their evil trade. This "doctrine of the Nicolai-
tanes" - sig. 'the conquerors of the people' - was opposed by the
faithful, who reconstituted their meeting upon a firm foundation
of an inspired Bible. It was not done without opposition.
But without flinching, Robert Roberts, as a latter-day "Antipas"
(= 'against all'), took the leading part in this necessary reaff-
irmation of truth. Open fellowship ("the doctrine of Balaam")
was utilized by the errorists, their first attempts to curse (as with
Balaam) having been prevented.A faithful man also "against all"
fought and defeated Balaam's doctrine as recorded in Numbers
25. Phinehas "made an atonement for the children of Israel" &
"the plague was stayed from the children of Israel" - caused by
"the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-
block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto
idols, and to commit fornication". A "covenant of peace" was
given to Phinehas. Even if it means that we must stand alone,
let us remain faithful to God's trust - link to 'committees'.
Balaam's virulent heresy of fellowship with the world continued
on after him with his spiritual "children"-2nd Peter 2v1-3,12-22.
We notice that Christ identifies Himself as "he which hath the
sharp sword with two edges"..i.e. the word of God, John 1v14;
Hebrews 4v12,13; Revelation 19v13.
The connection with the controversy is undeniable - it is further
reinforced by the promise to the faithful of "the hidden manna".
Let us also be "faithful martyr(s)" - link to 'apocalypse'.
Thyatira: AD1894-1898 ch.2v18-29
The 4th division occurred when a reservation upon the doctrine
of resurrectional responsibility was introduced (Britain & USA).
This error has come to be known as 'Andrewism'. (Advocates of
'clean flesh' are fond of falsely accusing those who defend the
truth concerning the Sacrifice of Christ of holding 'Andrewism'.
It hides their purpose of converting the unwary to 'clean flesh').
This was a serious error, because it denied the clear declaration
of Almighty God to judge those who reject His word. Being a
serious challenge to His authority it cannot be allowed to remain
in fellowship. Otherwise we would also share this culpability.
From history we see the "burden" of withdrawal from error as
commanded by Christ was perceived by the faithful, led as in the
previous division by Robert Roberts. For the true significance of
this "burden" link to 'seven-ecclesias' - Thyatira.
It is significant that the number 4 in Scripture represents Divine
where this is discussed. Earlier applications of the 4th message
also follow this same pattern-i.e. the rejection of God's authority.
Note the judgment of "the Son of God", with "his eyes like unto
a flame of fire" and the promise to the faithful - "to him will I
give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of
iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken in pieces".
"Jezebel", who taught rebellion against God, is denounced, and
her judgment and the judgment of all rebels is proclaimed.
The connection with this controversy is undeniable. And with this
4th message, Robert Roberts fell asleep in the Lord (see page 2).
This event marked a disastrous decline in doctrine & practice.
"I will put upon you none other burden" -the sound legacy of the
Pioneer brethren was now established for ecclesias to follow.
"..that which ye have already hold fast till I come".
The only question remaining was would the ecclesias obey?
Sardis: AD1914-1926 ch.3v1-6
The Pioneer brethren had built a firm foundation of truth, but it
was not long before World War 1 began a period which became
notorious for 2 things: A- compromise with error under a façade
of truth - and B- extremity by those who would foist man-made
rules upon fellow-believers. These 2 evils have always been very
clear markers by which the Divine plumbline can be recognized.
Robert Roberts had written an article entitled:
'True Principles and Uncertain Details', which was invaluable in
that it set these matters out clearly at the time of the resurrect-
ional responsibility division (see 'Thyatira'). Sadly, now his scrip-
tural advice was disregarded, except amongst the believers who
remained committed to the preservation of the Truth as God had
committed it to them - link to 'committees'.
The matters wherein compromise was revealed included:
*participation in non-combatant branches of the armed forces
*toleration of those defending "special constables"
*toleration of 'clean flesh' teaching, which nullified the truth
of the Sacrifice of Christ - link to 'sacrifice'.
On the other hand extremity was amply demonstrated - mainly
through the adoption of varying degrees of the indissolubility of
marriage. This heresy was confirmed by the Roman Catholic
"church" at the 'Council' of Trent 1445-1463, and was operative
even in the cases of "fornication" and desertion of a believer by
an alien husband or wife. Contrast Matthew 5v32;19v9; 1st Cor-
inthians 7v12-16. Link to 'marriage'.
All those deviating claimed to be upholding the correct position,
and almost all retained the name "Christadelphian". The ver-
dict of Christ was clear: "thou hast a name that thou livest, and
(but) thou art dead". The admonition was "strengthen the things
which remain, that are ready to die". And "Remember therefore
how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent".
This was a clear call to the earlier days of sound doctrine and
sound practice. It echoed the following:
Deuteronomy 32v7;Joshua 1v13; Hebrews 13v7 - "Remember the
days of old..Remember the word..Remember them". The constant
message is to remember the words of the pioneers of the ecclesia
in the wilderness & the ecclesia in Jerusalem.The message of the
Lord, consistent with the above, is to remember the words of the
pioneer brethren of the Sardian ecclesia - and in the time-appli-
cation to the last days, the pioneer brethren John Thomas and
Robert Roberts, with the sound scriptural foundation which they
laid under the providence of Almighty God in Christ.
The fact that the above is a correct understanding is endorsed
by the "few names even in Sardis which did not (Revised version)
defile their garments". They were "names", i.e. reputations, even
as the "name", or reputation of the Sardian ecclesia. It was the
same as in the advice of Paul to the Jerusalem ecclesia, as ren-
dered in the R.V. - "Remember them that had the rule over you,
which spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue
of their life, imitate their faith". Yes, the Pioneer works may be
on our bookshelves; their "names" are with us. But can we truly
say that we are walking in the footsteps of the faithful of old?
In the years 1914-1926 and following, those remaining firmly
based upon the Pioneer foundation allowed neither compromise
nor extremity to destroy the Christadelphian name. This allowed
them to prepare for an even greater disaster soon to follow:
"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee".
(Concerning the need to "watch", link to 'apocalypse' fact 4).
That time occurred, in the aftermath of World War 2, after one
symbolic "hour" (thirty years) - showing the suddenness of this
event. Link to 'the Lord's day' - 6th Vision for an explanation of
the telescopic symbology involved in such prophecies.
Philadelphia: AD1947-1958 ch.3v7-13
During this period of time the disaster foreshadowed above took
place. It saw the re-entry of errors previously withdrawn from,
under the euphemistic description of "reunion". Toleration of
false doctrine, begun in 1917, was cemented by the end of 1922.
In 1947, a conference (Detroit, USA) heard a shocking "official"
defence of toleration, which resulted in the admission of those
holding error by a conference (Jersey City, USA) 20 Sept. 1952.
Then by the end of that year, a report in 'The Christadelphian'
gave "official" recognition to "reunion" with errorists. After
one "hour" (thirty years, 2 periods) the judgments prophesied
came upon them. It has been all downhill since that disaster. The
"hedge" of fellowship having been broken down, every type of
error has found a home in this compromised community. One
notable error, 'clean flesh', which has plagued the Christadel-
phian assemblies since its inception,has won its final victory. The
most devilish form of this error which has mesmerised and over-
come resistance is exposed in 'sacrifice'.
We noted under 'Sardis' that extreme views were also being pro-
mulgated. These views became entrenched even further in the
period of time we are now considering. As we have set out in our
'appeal' letter, the twin evils of laxity and extremity are now app-
arent for all to see. They allow us to be guided to the plumbline,
which is the Truth in its purity, but with no added doctrines or
commandments of men. Both declensions from the Faith must be
resisted by those called to be members of Christ's ecclesia.
In these last two messages of Philadelphia and Laodicea, we find
doors which are shut, & doors which are open. We deal with the
principles involved in 'foundation'. The door of opportunity was
shut for those who closed their eyes to the compromise. However
to the faithful Christ says: "behold,I have set before thee an open
door, and no man can shut it". The faithful were few - "for thou
hast a little strength". Those tolerating the errors in this ungodly
"reunion" became "the synagogue of the satan"*(Grk.). The few
showing faith remained separate or withdrew.
They cherished the promise of Christ that in the Kingdom Age
He would "make..him that overcometh..a pillar in the temple of
my God, and he shall go no more out".
*We remember that this description occurs also in the message
to Smyrna. These are the only two ecclesias of which no fault is
recorded, & both resisted error re the Sacrifice of Christ. There
was need of faith, & a quotation from Isaiah 22v22 confirms this.
Christ is "he that hath the key of David" in v7. The practice was
for one bearing a large key to precede the king. The key "upon"
the "shoulder" represented the authority of "government", both
then and pointing forward to the future rule of Christ, Isaiah 22
v20-22, cp ch.9v6,7. Hezekiah was tested at that time, & showed
faith, so that the Assyrian advance was halted outside Jerusalem,
and the enemy destroyed-cp Isaiah 36 & 37. As a sign of his faith
Hezekiah also replaced Shebna (sig. 'lead captive') with Eliakim
(sig. 'El (God) will set up') - cp Isaiah 22v15-22 with 36v3.
This clearly demonstrated that he did not rely upon the arm of
the flesh, but instead committed his righteous cause to God.
Hezekiah also held the greatest Passover ever in Judah, accord-
ing to the principle of faith. Individuals responded to his call
from the corrupted northern kingdom. Consider 2nd Chronicles
30. The application to our own responsibilities in similar circum-
stances of prevailing apostacy is clear. Hezekiah "opened the
doors of the house of Yahweh" which had been "shut"- see
2nd Chronicles 29v3;28v24. The faithful few in Philadelphia had
this "open door" set before them - not so with Laodicea (below).
Philadelphia is the 6th ecclesia - in common with previous time-
applications of 6 we see the great struggle between the spirit &
the flesh : truth and error : set forth. Link further to 'structure'.
The conflict and the battle with self must be won.
It is in situations of smallness of numbers and strength that this
struggle provides the greatest test of our faith.
The next message to Laodicea shows us the door of opportunity
has been shut. Total indoctrination involving toleration has by
now taken control over a hapless"Christadelphian" community,
except for those maintaining the Truth in its purity.This involves
not adding to or detracting from God's holy word-see 'appeal'.
The little-understood parable of the wise and foolish virgins in
Matthew 25v1-13 we shall expound, if it is the Lord's will, in the
context of Proverbs,see below. Here we see "the door was shut".
An infamous 'addendum' has been crafted, allowing toleration
of the error of 'clean flesh'. This is exposed in 'committees'.
The 'addendum' formed part of what is still termed in Australia
the 'Unity Book' - but it was deception, and the only unity to be
revealed was the toleration of errorists within the ecclesias.
The appeal of Christ, as we shall see, is now only to individuals.
Laodicea: AD1958 to Christ's return ch.3v14-22
This is the last of the seventh epochs, just prior to the coming of
Christ.We have suggested elsewhere, in 'the time of the end', that
the date of "Armageddon" may be AD2017. The return of Christ
must be before Armageddon, for He must first judge those who
will have become responsible to judgment by a knowledge of the
Truth. He must then organize the accepted saints preparatory to
Therefore the preparation for the coming of the Lord is of the
greatest urgency. Let us consider this message in that light.
Remember also that death could overtake us at any time, & the
time of opportunity,as happened with Israel,will be gone forever.
The time-application to this last epoch is brought forcibly to our
notice by Christ's self-identification as "the Amen, the faithful
and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God".
See what this involves - link to 'apocalypse' re "testimony" and
"witness". He condemns this faithless "lukewarm" end-product.
He states "I would thou wert cold or hot" - v15…i.e. refreshing-
"cold", Proverbs 25v13,25..zealous-"hot",a related Greek word
is translated"zealous" in v19-"be zealous therefore,and repent".
Being neither of the above, but insipid, Laodicea is only fit for
one possible action - the Lord will reject them as vomit - v16.
It is noteworthy that in the litany of faults recorded against Lao-
dicea we see "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and
naked". It is surely significant that such terms have a connection
with the Sacrifice of Christ, and His resurrection & immortality:
See Romans 6v24, 1st Corinthians 15v19, Revelation 16v15.
The heresy of 'clean flesh' which denies this essential doctrine
is fatal to those who adopt or tolerate it - link to 'sacrifice'.
As noted above,in these very last days of "Laodicea",the "door"
of opportunity is shut. It is a stark contrast to "Philadelphia",
which enjoyed "an open door". These two facts inextricably link
these epochs with the parable of the"wise" and "foolish" virgins
of Matthew 25v1-13. In this parable we read "they that were
ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut".
It would be wrong to believe this refers only to the acceptance
granted at Christ's return,for "afterward came also the other vir-
gins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us".This does not fit with the
Judgment Seat of Christ, where both the accepted & the rejected
will appear together to be judged, and then separation occurs.
Link to 'judge'-page 1. Primarily we see the days of "Laodicea"
when in the parable "the foolish" are told to "go..and buy for
yourselves". And to the same class in "Laodicea" Christ says:
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold..white raiment..eyesalve".
This gracious invitation will not be renewed at the judgment.
There is still time, but it is fast running out. When the Lord has
returned, there will no longer be this golden opportunity.
"He that is unjust,let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let
him be filthy still". Let us not lose this last opportunity.The door
has been"shut" now by wicked men,but with faith any can "open
the door", and Christ "will come in to him,and will sup with him,
and he with me" i.e. fellowship will be restored. For more details
on this vital theme link to'foundation'-page 1.Remember also the
gracious words of the Lord in Matthew 7v7,8 -
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and
it shall be opened to you:for every one that asketh receiveth;and he
that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened".
Because of the iron-clad compromise which has allowed error to
appear respectable, the appeal of Christ is only to individuals:
"If any man hear my voice..". We must show faith & courage.
The promoters of this web-site are ready and willing to assist any
who desire further information and assistance.Remember also that
the Lord says - "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten". Heb.12
v1-13 tells us "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scour-
geth every son whom he receiveth". Note also that the Greek for
"love" in Christ's appeal to Laodicean believers is from the Greek
'phileo', signifying a personal affection. It is significant that the
epoch of "Philadelphia" enjoyed an "open door". This was the time
of the Pioneer brethren - see page 2. We suggest that we are being
told there must be a return to the principles for which they stood.
That is the purpose of this web-site and our 'appeal' letter.
We see a similarity with the words of Malachi, who prophesied of a
final work of Elijah to Israel "before the coming of the great and
dreadful day of the LORD" to "turn the heart of the fathers to the
children, and the heart of the children to their fathers"- Mal.4v5,6.
There will be more on this glorious theme in 'proverbs'(see below).
There is an 8th ecclesia referred to in Revelation 2 and 3. It is the
Christ-body, which will be composed of individuals who hearken
to the words that recur throughout these chapters:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the
ecclesias". We must "read..hear..and keep those things which are
written therein" in order to be "blessed" by the Lord - ch.1v3.
Whereas the number 7 speaks of completion, the number 8 speaks
May we attain to this perfection by our dedication to the Truth, &
our maintenance of sound doctrine and fellowship.
The epochs of time dealt with in the messages to Sardis, Phila-
delphia, & Laodicea, will be the subject of prophetic import in
'Proverbs and Parables in the New Testament', now gradually
being uploaded to this site. We are pressing on with this work.
WE EXPECT CRITICISM FOR THIS 3RD APPLICATION OF THE
MESSAGES TO THE 7 ECCLESIAS. HOWEVER THIS CAN MAKE
NO DIFFERENCE TO OUR RESOLVE TO SO EXPOUND IT. AND
LET EACH VIEWER TEST THE ABOVE BY THE WORD OF GOD.
ALSO LET US REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD:
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil".It is time for the light of truth to dispel the darkness
which has descended upon the Household of Faith in these last
terrible days of Gentile times.
OUR APPEAL IS DIRECTED TO THOSE WHO LOVE THE TRUTH
THESE ARE VITAL MATTERS WHICH MUST BE UNDERSTOOD
CONSTRUCTIVE CORRESPONDENCE IS WELCOMED TO