SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION
Maurice M Johnson
Los Angeles, California
March 16, 1958
You who were here two weeks ago this afternoon when I started into this study, the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, not pretending to expound, or not hoping of course to expound it, if I were able to really expound it all, it would take a long, long time, to carefully teach and expound the entire three chapters, I mean just those three chapters. My main desire was to examine the claim that the first three chapters of the book of Revelation is primarily a history, prophetic history, history now because, to us, because we're so far from the beginning and so near the end, probably; but anyway that the first three chapters of Revelation were` intended by the Spirit of God in John to be an inspired prophecy of the entire church period.
That's taught by C.I. Scofield and his co-laborers in the Scofield notes of the Scofield Bible. That's taught by one of the famous or very able Plymouth Brethren... that's right, Walter Scott. A brief, sort of resume of his much larger work on the book of Revelation. Walter Scott was one of the most eminent of the Plymouth Brethren leaders back with J.N. Darby, C.H. Mackintosh, F.W. Grant, and so forth. I do not have Darby on the Revelation but he taught the same. Last night over at the LaForces I looked at William Kelly in his large work on Revelation, and read his treatise on the first three chapters of Revelation. I have here A.C. Gaebelein. Gaebelein was probably in the first generation that followed J.N. Darby, F.W. Grant, C.H. Mackintosh, William Kelly, Trotter, George Muller, and those who were considered historically as the fathers of the Plymouth Brethren movement.
As I brought to your attention two weeks ago and it's helpful to realize this, I think helpful in a good many ways, in the first place it's true, second place it's a truth that may help us out some times to realize... just like it's valuable I think in some degree in some ways to recognize, to know and recognize who God seems to signally use bringing a good many Christians together in some real degree in the 17th century. He used Martin Luther, John Calvin, Savonarola. There had been some before, only God knows how many before, Tyndale in England, and others, Wycliffe, others were used. But anyway, it's helpful to me, as I mentioned awhile ago (was it on the radio program? I didn't hear all the program while ago but I made this tape this morning), didn't I mention awhile ago that Martin Luther said, "Don't call yourselves Lutherans. Who's Luther but dust and ashes. Call yourselves Christians for Him who died for you." It's interesting to know that Martin Luther said that when you look at Lutheranism going ninety miles-an-hour, Southern California. In fact I think the Lutheran denomination is building more stinking new goofy buildings than any denomination I know of today; the Lutherans they are really going wild in building new buildings. And with a striking ... I don't know what it strikes except contempt in me instead of a holy place, a sanctuary, Lutheran architecture. But anyway, it's attractive. But to know that Martin Luther had enough knowledge of the truth of God about the church that he somewhat, like Paul rebuking those who said, "I'm of Paul", said, "Who is Luther? Don't call yourselves. Lutherans." John Wesley; I'm glad that I know that John Wesley said that, "Don't call yourselves Wesleyans," or "If we who are called Methodists, asked by which name we wish to be known, we say by no name that would distinguish us from other Christians." I'm glad that I know that Wesley who is credited more or less accurately with founding the Methodist Church as Luther is with founding the Lutheran... glad that I know that they really didn't intend, so far as all I can read, they really didn't intend to start a new sect. I think that they taught the essence, the little leaven that formed their denomination, but I don't think they intended to start a new sect.
Now, J.N. Darby, why probably more than any other one, the scholarly and energetic man in getting together doctrine that is generally regarded as the Plymouth Brethren doctrine. The late Lewis Sperry Chafer of the Dallas Theological Seminary and Chafer's monumental work, finished shortly before he died about three or four years ago on "Systematic Theology" is regarded as one of the very few if not the one large (and by the way my birthday is next November 28 and I don't have that set), but anyway Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote several volumes (I don't remember how many, I've seen them in somebody's book store and all), but "Systematic Theology" is considered I think as the only rather exhaustive work from the Pre-millennial, dispensational viewpoint. Lewis Sperry Chafer said that God undoubtedly used J.N. Darby, C.H.. Mackintosh, F.W. Grant, and William Kelly to restore (now I'm quoting), "to restore to the church the truth that the church in this present dispensation is not the kingdom, and that the church therefore should not be regarded as spiritual Israel." And that the church is a called out company and that the program of the church therefore isn't to make the world better and safe for democracy and so forth, but it's testimony to the fact of Christ. Now Lewis Sperry Chafer said that God undoubtedly used J.N. Darby, C.H. Mackintosh, F.W.. Grant, and those men back in the middle ... J.N. Darby came out of Anglicanism, an Episcopalian ... an Anglican clergyman, I think he left in about 1820, and William Kelly and J.N. Darby, C.H. Mackintosh along about the middle of the last century.
H.A. Ironside, whose book I have here, on Revelation. H.A. Ironside, a few years younger than A.C. Gaebelein, not very much, but they are contemporary, very intimate friends and associates, H.A. Ironside, I started to say, and Gaebelein were in the first generation following. That is, you might say they were students of (and so was Chafer in a sense), but especially these two men Gaebelein and Ironside, the most widely beloved fundamental, Pre-millennial, Bible teachers of the last sixty years. I think that's a safe statement of fact, and a statement of fact. A.C. Gaebelein who founded and edited for fifty years, little bit more than fifty when he died, his son and E. Schuyler English took it up a little bit later, the magazine called "Our Hope", and it was a very widely disseminated and greatly beloved magazine in all the Fundamentalist, Pre-millennial realms.
Do all of you know ... some times my wife says, "Honey, I think sometimes we presume that the young people who were born and brought up among us and never were faced with the challenge that you and I faced in the Methodists when we first were faced with the word 'Pre-millennial'. Pre-millennial. What does that mean? And we had our eyes wide opened with the wonder, and when we began to first hear (now she didn't say all this, but we talked about it), when we first began to hear of the Pre-millennial coming of Christ, and then asked a Methodist preacher that said, "That's heresy, that's dangerous." Then we, "Well ? or not?" And we knew some people (he taught us this before we were married), knew some people that we respected very highly, we thought they were godly and they said it isn't false, "The Bible teaches the second coming of Christ, and it teaches that Christ may come any minute, and that the world isn't going to get better and better and better." And when my wife and I, and doubtless many others, similar, when we first began to hear the truth of the second coming of Christ to set up the Millennium ... Millennial Kingdom, why it was so radically different from what we had heard we listened and therefore we began to get some things clear that maybe some of young people have just heard over and over again but you've never heard everything else. That is, in preaching and teaching.
Do you know what a Fundamentalist is in religion? He's supposed to be somebody that believes that the Bible is the Word of God written by divine inspiration, and therefore what you read in the Bible, plainly taught, about Jesus Christ is true: that He was born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life, and died for our sins, and was bodily raised, and bodily went to heaven, and is bodily coming back, and so forth. And generally speaking, the Fundamentalists are supposed to believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible Institute of Los Angeles, the Moody Bible Institute, Church of the Open Door, of course, and on the radio men like M.R. DeHaan of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Theodore Epp, national broadcast, are supposed to be Fundamentalists, very going Fundamentalists.
A.C. Gaebelein and H.A. Ironside were the most widely respected, Fundamentalist Bible teachers, Gaebelein was especially regarded as teacher and not so much as an evangelist, Ironside seemed to have a wider scope of ministry, both as an evangelist preaching to the unsaved and as teacher. Ironside for the last several years of his life was pastor of the Moody Memorial Church, Chicago. When Ironside first came out of the Salvation Army where he was taught saved and lost and get a second blessing, and repudiated that, and came out of the Salvation Army doctrine because he was exposed to the teaching of the Word of God as given by Exclusive Plymouth Brethren.
Now what are Exclusive Plymouth Brethren? There are what's called Closed... there is the Closed and there is the Open Brethren. The Closed Brethren say you have no right to eat the Lord's supper unless we know you are a Christian and have been walking humbly. And you go and visit an Exclusive Plymouth Brethren meeting, Closed meeting, and you tell some of the Brethren there, "I would like to partake of the Lord's supper" (meaning that it's physical in that case), ''I would like to partake of the Lord's supper or remember the Lord today with you brethren." "Well, if you a ... where have you been meeting?" "Well, I've been meeting in Podunk Center." "Do you have a letter from the assembly there that serves ...?" "No." "Dear brother, would you please sit back there, and we'll get a letter you know and we'll find out about you later on." So the Exclusive Brethren keep the visiting brother, no matter who he is, if they don't know about him, he's not to partake of the physical, supper. That's a quote.
Well... Ironside was with them for years, and they teach a lot of beau... in fact, so far as I know, nearly all that they teach, except on the supper. (You were with the Open Brethren weren't you, Mrs. Grove? She was with the Open Brethren.) Now the Open Brethren, they will say that if you come in and say, "Well I've never met you people before, but I would like to partake of the Lord's supper." "Are you saved? If you're saved, it's the Lord's table not ours." Oh, so you can come and they won't check up on you, see. (So Ruth was with the Open crowd.)
When Ironside first came out, what caused him to come out of the Salvation Army was the teaching he got from the Exclusive Plymouth Brethren that the church which is Christ's body is not the kingdom of God. It's the called out, ecclesia, and all saved are in it, and nobody but saved are in it. Therefore man-made churches, such as the Salvation Army, and the Church of England, and the Baptists and Methodists are not Biblical, and he repudiated all unequal yokes; that means a yoke, a religious yoke that a hypocrite can get into. Because that's the only way to repudiate an unequal yoke is to get into nothing that a hypocrite can get into. There is no possible way of obeying 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 except to be in nothing that a hypocrite can join.
Often people say ... I understand that the relative of a young Negro fellow here this afternoon (I'm not going to look for him now), that the man is saying, "Thereís hypocrites in all the churches, and how you know thereís not some in yours." Well the only way I can know thereís not some in ours is to just not have any church that a hypocrite can get into. And the Lord has that. He has it. He adds people to it, and He knows what's in man so He never adds a counterfeit. Never adds a counterfeit to it. And so it's just that simple if we're just in the church that Christ adds people to, then we can say, "I'm not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." If one of us walks in the flesh, well that's outside the body. That doesn't affect our yoke, because our yoke ... Christ said, "My yoke is easy." Well that's the yoke I'm in.
But anyway, Ironside taught those things, and taught them beautifully, and while he was doing that, God taught him, God taught him. Let me just read to you a little bit something here what he says before we read some in the book of Revelation. Here's what Ironside said, himself now, about why he came to take the position he took.
By the way I brought my Exhaustive Concordance here. Any of you want to look at it. Look for the word 'church' in the New Testament Scriptures. You'll find it comes from the Greek word 'ekklesia'. They tell us it means 'ek' out and 'klesia', 'klesia' call. It's the root word from which we get our anglicized word 'ecclesiastical', ecclesiastical, means having to do with the church. The word 'ekklesia' in the inspired original Greek occurs a good many times in the New Testament. It's translated in the King James translation, it's translated 'church' every time but three. In the 19th chapter of the book of Acts, it's translated 'assembly' three times. Same word exactly, the Holy Spirit used the same word 'ekklesia'. But since that the ecclesia, that church referred to in Acts the 19th chapter is a town hall meeting of people called together to get after Paul to run him out of town, the translators of the King James (who were Anglican) didn't translate it 'church', they translated the same word 'assembly'. But did you know that a crowd at a prize fight is a church, in the simple- meaning of the word 'church', the Greek word, and the way it's used there in Acts the nine... it's a company of people called together. Therefore they had to be called out of where they were before, 'ecclesia'. The town meeting there in Ephesus was a church; but their purpose wasn't religious, it was to get rid of Paul. So let's not forget the simple meaning of the word 'church'. There is nothing that makes a called out company of people a Christian church but Christ. Where two or three are gathered together in His name what did He say? "There am I." Well then that makes it a Christian church as a local gathering. Christian church.
Now. I want to read this first. So now, the fact that the word in the first three chapters of Revelation called 'church' comes from the very same word as a town hall in Ephesus, doesn't mean that those addressed as the church at Ephesus, the church at Thyatira, church at Sardis, and so forth, that they were town-hall meeting's and just politicians; not at all, but the word 'church' means the same. Well have to go to other scriptures, look at the context to see what kind of church is gathered there; what kind of church? We read in Acts the 7th chapter from Stephen's sermon about the "church in the wilderness" Now that's back in the days when Israel was out of Egypt on their way to the promised land. Is that the church which is Christ's body? That wasn't the church which is Christ's body was it? And yet Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls it a church. But he said this church in the wilderness. Well it was Israel, who were called out of Egypt; but not yet in the promised land. So they were a called out company out there in the wilderness, you see; they are called out.
Now this is a church here. We couldn't say that every member of this congregation is in the Christian church because it might be that there are some unsaved here. (If there are I hope you become saved by receiving Christ as your personal savior.) But all who are Christians here.... now we are a church though because we're a company of people called out of our respective homes into this building, see. But all who are saved are the church of God, or the church of Jesus Christ in this building, right now; a church. The church in the house of Chloe, we read about the church in the house of Stephen, see. All right.
Now H.A. Ironside, he's one of the ablest and regarded most highly for many years of all Fundamentalist, Pre-millennial, Bible teachers. Down at the Bible Institute, why he gave series of lectures of course on the special ? for the students; preached to the Church of the Open Door and Bible conferences. Anybody in the Fundamentalist field that could get H.A. Ironside to speak for them was favored, I mean Fundamentalist organizations. And so he gave a little bit of the history as to how people began to think that the first three chapters of Revelation refer to seven periods in the church.
Before we begin our study of "The Things Which Are," let me give you this parable. Sometime ago, rummaging through an old castle, some people came across a very strange-looking old lock which secured a stout door. They shook the door and tried to open it, but to no avail. They tried one way and another to move the lock, but could not turn it. By and by somebody picked up a bunch of old keys from some rubbish on the floor and he said, "Maybe I can unlock it." He tried one key and it made no impression. He tried another and it gave a little; another and it gave a little more; and so on, but none would open the lock. At last he came to a peculiar old key. He slipped it into the lock, gave a turn, and the lock was open. They said, "Undoubtedly this key was meant for this lock."
You will understand my parable if I draw your attention to the fact that, in the 20th verse of the 1st chapter, we are told that there was a mystery connected with the seven lampstands. The seven lampstands are said to symbolize the seven churches of Asia, but there was a mystery connected with them. While some have tried one key and some have tried another (and there have been all kinds of efforts made to interpret this mystery), no solution was found until some devout students of Scripture weighing this portion said, "Might it not be that inasmuch as this section of the book presents 'the things which are,' God has been pleased to give us here a prophetic history of the church for the entire dispensation?"
I'm going to read that again in a moment. Now John says, "to the seven churches which are in Asia." He said some devout students said, "Might it not be that inasmuch as this section of the book," first three chapters of the book of Revelation, "might it not be that inasmuch as this section of the book presents 'the things which are,' God has been pleased to give us here a prophetic history of the church for the entire dispensation?" By saying these ... the seven churches which are, not one church which is and six which are going to be one after the other, but seven churches which are.
Now suppose I would count seven of you here. And I say now, "There are," well here are five and two, seven of you in the two front benches, "All right, here are seven men, seven men which are right here. Now you know what that means? That means one's here and the other is going to be born 50 years from now, and 700 years from now." You say, "Well makeup your mind, which do you mean?" If there are seven men which are here, seven men which are, then I'm going to turn right around and say, "You know what that means? That means that only one of them are, one of them is now, and the others aren't; one is and the others' aren't." But the way I tell that is by saying seven men which are, in one area in the front two benches, front two rows. "Seven churches which are in Asia."
Now watch, let me give it again. He said after trying a lot of keys, some devout students said, couldn't it be, couldn't it be (now watch),
Might it not be that in as much as this section of the book presents the things which are, God has been pleased to give us here a prophetic history of the church for the entire dispensation? .. to give us here a prophetic history of the church for the entire dispensation? But would the key fit the lock?
You know I've forced a lock more than one time, busted it. You ever try that? The key didn't fit it, but I opened it anyway. Sometimes with a hammer, sometimes with a screwdriver. Yeah, I messed up the key sometimes. But now watch. So it wouldn't unlock, the key, the lock it was fit for, intended for. But anyway, now watch.
Might it not be that inasmuch as this section of the book presents 'the things which are,' God has been pleased to give us here a prophetic history of the church for the entire dispensation? But would the key fit the lock? They compared the first part of the church's history with the letter to Ephesus. Here it fitted perfectly.
Now you seven gentlemen won't mind me using you a littler further will you? All right now. Now you notice, and don't look at them too carefully please, you notice they've all seven dressed exactly alike don't you? Neither do I, cause they are not. You notice they all have exactly the same color of hair, don't you? Neither do I. He's a fellow's as gray as I am. You notice that they all have ... they are all exactly the same weight? No. Now watch. Does any one of these men represent the exact condition of all seven of them? Why of course not! Now he's just told us that some of those devout students that were looking for keys to unlock the mystery of the first three chapters, they said, "Now wait a minute. Here's a key we believe that will unlock it: That these seven churches which are in Asia represent the whole seven periods, one after the other, so we're going to try this key on the first church, Ephesus." Now if the letter to Ephesus describes the seven churches of Asia, and we read directly the letter to the church at Ephesus and the conditions of the church at Ephesus was a specific condition differing over here somewhat from the next church, and this one differs from each of the others coming, and the fourth from each of the other three, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh. Now to say that they are there in 90 A.D., about the time John wrote, at 90 A.D. the condition of the church at Ephesus was the condition in the letter to Ephesus, the condition of the church at Sardis at 90 A.D., same time, was the condition of the letter to Sardis.
Listen I don't know any more ridiculous Mulligan stew anywhere in the world taught in the name of Bible exposition than this. To teach that these seven letters represent seven periods. Honestly, it's the most amazing thing, for men that are as able as these men on other things. But then when you ask them about water baptism, everyone of these fellows, they are just as clear... as mud. Now I say that sorrowfully, because it's a tragedy of course. They differ, they fought and split over water and the supper. Everyone of these men were devout in some point or degree on the physical things.
I think if they'd stayed with the spiritually of the church, they'd been clear on Revelation. If they'd stayed with Paul's unique ministry and humbly studied it through they'd have seen that Paul, as I brought out two weeks ago here, Paul said, as recorded in Romans 11:13, "I the apostle to the Gentiles magnify my office." In Colossians 1 he said, "It's given to me to complete the Word of God for the church", "I'll fulfill the Word of God for the church." I brought that out two weeks ago. Paul said, and only Paul, referred to the church being the body of Christ. Peter never mentioned the word 'body' in connection with a company of believers in this present dispensation; it wasn't given him to reveal that the church was the body of Christ. James never mentions it. Peter never mentions it in his three recorded sermons or in his two epistles. James never mentions it. John the beloved, in his book of John, the three epistles of John, in the book of Revelation, never mentioned the word 'body' once in connection with the church being the body of Christ. Only Paul. And to think of those facts themselves as we come into the book of Revelation, we will, if we're consistent and humble and Spirit-taught, we'll say, "Wait a minute, this book is written by the beloved John; he says so in the beginning." And we know from Galatians the 2nd chapter that the Spirit of God had Peter, James, John, with Paul and Barnabas at Jerusalem, other apostles there, after they had disputed awhile with Paul about his unique ministry and the message he was to preach to Gentiles, they finally recognized, as Paul writes in Galatians 2, that the same God who was mighty through Peter to the Jew was mighty through Paul to the uncircumcision Gentile and so Peter, James, and John, ministers of the circumcision or Jew, "gave right hands of fellowship to me and Barnabas," Paul and Barnabas, "that we should go to the Gentiles and they go to the Jew."
Incidentally, that's very interesting to study in connection with the theory that... Peter went to Rome. Since the last thing we hear about Peter he's to go to the Jews, what made him go to Rome? because the Jews had just been driven out of Rome. Read about it in the 18th chapter of Acts, terrible persecution and all the Jews went out of Rome. And imagine Peter going over there to say, "I'm coming over here to be the head of the church, headquarters in the Gentile capital of the world. The Lord took me as a Jew, that's why I came to Rome."
Well anyway, now watch, back to this. Peter, James, and John gave Paul and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, Galatians 2, that they, Paul and Barnabas, would go to the Gentiles, Peter, James, and John to the Jew. Now we read John's epistles 1 and 2 and 3 John, never mentions the word 'body'. We read John's book of Revelation, the book that God gave him to write, he never mentions the word 'body'. Is the Spirit of God going to have John, Peter, or James give any truth about the church which is Christ's body that is different from what He gave Paul? Since Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles and the church is primarily a called company of Gentiles? It doesn't make sense my friend.
Now these are spiritual truths I'm bringing to your attention, not opinions, but they are solid facts that weigh something to a God-fearing person who wants the truth of God.
Now remember Gaebelein (sic) says, "They said, we don't know what kind of key, tried this and it won't work, tried this and it won't work, now we'll try this one, somebody suggested this one, so we'll try this. And we put it in Ephesus now. Now we tried it on Ephesus and it fits exactly, it fits perfectly." Well it doesn't fit at all, but let's go ahead.
They went on and compared the letter to Smyrna for the second part of the church's history, and the agreement was most marked. They went on right down to the end, and when they came to Laodicea ...
Now let me ask you this: Whose record of the church did they have access to to examine? Now we have God's record of the church ... up to the time ... well the close of Paul's ministry and a few things we might say about in John, the believers anyway, inside the first hundred years. Now where'd he get a record of the church in the second hundred years from 100 A.D. to 200 A.D.? Who kept the record? Spiritual Christians wouldn't be trying to keep the records of the church because they know the records are kept in heaven. Do you keep a record brother Bear of every kind thing you've done since you've been saved? If you have, its funny time. Keep a record of all your prayers, Bible reading, everybody he's dealt with for Christ that's been saved. If youíve been doing it, it's because you don't believe God's been keeping a good record. You say, "I want to have something I can show for ..." Who kept the records of the early church from 100 A.D. to 200 for these men to read and say, "Now we're going to see if Smyrna, the letter to Smyrna, doesn't perfectly fit." And who kept the record from 200 - 300 A.D.? And who kept the record from ... now. Mike ought to speak up and say, "The Holy Roman Catholic Church." I mean if he was back in the Roman Catholics like he was for 27 years, or his brother Bill over here. But who kept the record of the church of Jesus Christ for these men to examine from. 300 A.D. to 400 A.D.? And who kept the record from 400 to 500? From 500 - 6? From 6 - 7? From 7 - 8? And on down? Who kept the record? Imagine trying to read an accurate record of the church of Jesus Christ in 1000 A.D.
In the First place a lot of things that have been written have been burnt up by various kinds of wars and other things, and this "interpretation" so-called depends wholly upon men being able to apply these seven short letters to the whole 1900 years about that the church has been in existence. And it's built, in other words, upon the presumption that is ridiculous. But now worse than that if possible. Watch now.
They went on right down to the end, and when they came to Laodicea they found that what is written to the church of Laodicea answers exactly to the condition of the professing church in the days in which we live.
Well then where's Philadelphia? Not a one of them admits that he's in Laodicea. They all say we're in Philadelphia. Well remember Philadelphia was the sixth one not the seventh one. And if Laodicea ... if the key to Laodicea fits exactly the description of the days in which we live, then where's Philadelphia? then you're in Laodicea.
Now here's another amazing thing. According to Pre-millennial teaching, that means those that believe that Christ is coming back before the thousand years referred to as such in Revelation 20, 1000 years, and prophetically, in other words referred to over and over again as the time when the kingdom of God's going to be set up on the earth and the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, nations will have beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and learn war no more. The stone kingdom we read of in Daniel, cut out of the mountain without hands., is going to defeat the Gentile governments, that stone is going to hit the feet of the image there and world government, Gentile governments, and reduce them to chaff on the summer threshing floor and the wind carry it away, but this stone will fill the whole earth. Now, the Pre-millennial position, and that is Biblical of course, is that Christ is coming back to destroy the antichrist, call the church up first, the true church, and then after a little period called the tribulation, when the antichrist will be allowed to appear and get on the throne as the counterfeit Messiah in Jerusalem, then the Lord will come back in flaming fire and destroy the antichrist and judge the whores referred to in many prophecies, Joel 2 and so forth and Ezekiel, and He'll establish the kingdom and that kingdom will fill the whole earth, and for a thousand years the Lord will reign on the throne of David, and David will be resurrected and will reign doubtless on his own throne under Christ. For the thousand years, and the lamb and lion will lie down together, and the bear eat straw like the ox, and so forth. And at the end of that millennium the devil, who will have been put in the pit, bottomless pit, for a thousand years, chained, will be let loose for a little season. So the Pre-millennial position is that Christ is coming back pre-millennium, which means thousand years, 'mille-annum', 'mille' Latin word for thousand, 'annum' is year; millennium, anglicized' word for a thousand years. So Pre-millennial ... now you who know this real well just remember that there was a time when you didn't know it and maybe somebody here that has heard some of those words hasn't gotten a hold of them clearly, simple meaning. The Pre-millennial coming of Christ is that itís coming before the thousand year reign.
Now, I started to say, one of the most amazing things about these Pre-millennial Bible teachers (certainly I'm glad to be called one, not worthy to be even saved for that matter of course, but anyway that's the school I'm in; I believe in the Pre-millennial coming of Christ), but these men, as all Pre-millennialists must believe to be consistent, teach that the world is getting worse! And yet every one of them teaches in these books that Philadelphia is the most beautiful church the world has ever seen. One of them says here, "Definitely it's better than Ephesus." Well if the church from the apostle Paul's day clear on up here, and they will all say that they are in Philadelphia, then how could the world have been getting worse for 1900 years and all of a sudden a Philadelphia church appears on the scene, and it's the best one the world's ever seen. Say wait a minute. Philadelphia should have been back there before Ephesus. It's clear as mud."
Now as I brought out two weeks ago, one of the greatest harms that comes from this belief that these are descriptions of the church is when you get to Philadelphia, among other things, I mean in Laodicea, you have the amazing spectacle of Christ on the outside. "Behold I stand at the door and knock." He's on the outside of what? Outside of His body. Now I have been accused of being out of my head, but I don't think I ever had anybody accuse me of being out of my body. Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice." And all of them say that that's the picture of Christ standing on the outside knocking to be allowed to come in. When Itís on the outside of what? Anything that could be called a Christian church? And I've had some say, "I don't believe that. I believe that we have Philadelphia and Laodicea going at the same time. And that the true Christians are Laodicea ... I mean the true Christians are Philadelphia." "But this Laodicea is called a church. It's one of the seven." "Yes." "And it's one of the golden lampstands..." "0i, yoi, yoi." Golden lampstands. And Christ said, "You're neither hot nor cold but you're lukewarm, I'm going to spew you out of My mouth!"
Well, one of the Christian churches, the church which is Christ's body, golden lampstand, lo and behold you, we've got two (now watch, I've never brought this out in your hearing before), lo and behold you." we've got two churches at the same time. Don't forget that now. What relationship has Jesus Christ to two churches at any given time? He couldn't possibly recognize but one of them as a Christian church, or itís a bigamist. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11, "I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Don't you see what utter confusion this presents. You've either got to say that the letter to the church at Philadelphia in this so-called "chronological" story ... that this Philadelphia ... you're Philadelphia and you've got to die physically and pass off the scene before Laodicea, that's an awful promise to big boy, but then Philadelphia, Larry, you've got to die and get off the scene before there could be another church, because Christ doesn't have two things He calls the church! Well here Philadelphia has to die physically and get off the scene before Laodicea can get on. Don't you see?
I think it's one of the reasons that the students of the Plymouth Brethren, as I brought out two weeks ago, the Plymouth Brethren J.N. Darby, Walter Scott, William Kelly, C.H. Mackintosh were unquestionably far ahead of their first generation of students. That's always the way. It was true with Moses.. God said to Joshua there is a generation come up here now that doesn't know the wonders done in Egypt. And... in other words, they didn't have the same marvelous reasons for believing in God the great deliverer, and that's true of some of you young people. It doesn't have to be; doesn't have to be. I saw that with, my own children, my three girls and son Jim. My wife and I talked about it. We do not want them to be protected from trials and hardships that'll make them check up and say, "Do l believe what I believe because my father and mother taught me, or because I see it's the truth of God. I see it myself."
That's the history, uninspired history we see about us: one man works hard, maybe not have a lot of formal education, and he'd have ... industrious and determined and ambitious and frugal and work hard and wisely and he'd become a success and have one or more sons and will say, "By the eternal gods my boy's not going to have gnarled hands and premature gray hair and stooped shoulder like I've got; I'm going to give my boy the best advantages possible," And he'll put skids under his boy maybe and start him on the way to hell, so far as the father's input, instead of saying, "Wait a minute. God help me... (even from a human standpoint), the trials and hardships I've had, have nearly all been good for me." But anyway, back to this now.
J.N. Darby, F.W. Grant, C.H. Mackintosh, they didn't come out of the church of England with this ... because of this doctrine because that leads them back into it, into that mess. They came out of the church of England and other forms of denominationalism because of the beautiful truth of the spirituality of the church. Turn to the 3rd chapter. And when they saw that the church is not the kingdom and that Christ as the head of the church isn't the son of David...
...Isn't it too hot in here? Well, that's what I thought. But I'm not a good thermometer brethren when I stand up here and speak furiously, I mean warmly. I'm furious against some of these things but it's because I love the Lord.
Because my time... I may not get to it if don't jump at it right now. Revelation the 3rd chapter, Now this is one of the finest assemblies, and look now, I have just as much right to call it an assembly as any of these English translators have to call it a church. They have the right so far as I know to call the word 'ecclesia' assembly, referring to that town meeting in Ephesus recorded in Acts 14. Three times they had to use the word 'assembly'. Now whether or not... [?] was a religious assembly we have to find by the context, and we do find. And the same way with these churches here. But now watch.
This is the church, 7th verse, at Philadelphia. And all of these men whose names I've called and to whose books I've been referring some, they teach that the church at Philadelphia is the best church, most spirituality, more love for the Lord's name and purity, than ever have before in all the church period, or even yet to come which is Laodicea they say. Now let's look at the 7th verse, 3:7,
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David.
The key of David? What is that got to do with the church which is Christ's body? What does that unlock? In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, "Though... henceforth know we no man after the flesh, though we have known Christ, now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he's a new creature, old things are passed away." We don't know men on the basis of Jew and Gentile, of kings and people, whether he's of the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of Judah. We don't know Christ as the son of David in the church because that is not His relationship in the church. We're... in Christ, the head of the church and He's seated in the glory and our we've been quickened, raised up, created anew in Him., made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ. And our walk, Colossians 2:6, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, even so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him."
Now again, why do you suppose the Spirit of God had the apostle of the Jew, one of the apostles of the Jews, John, say, in writing this letter to the church at Philadelphia, talk about the ... one:
These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David.
The first mention of that is back in the 22nd of Isaiah, "I'll give unto thee the key of the house of David." And Isaiah 9:6 we read of the coming of the one, a prophecy, "Unto us a son is given, a child is born, and He shall sit upon the throne of his father David, the government shall be upon His shoulder." That's. the same truth. Now Christ in His relationship as the son of David, my dear friend, is not Christ in His relationship as the head of the church. And the key of David has to do with the key of the kingdom. Peter used the keys of the kingdom. You try to find where Paul used the keys of the kingdom of God to unlock and let anybody in. He preached about the kingdom some, but only to prove that Jesus that they had spit on and crowned with thorns was indeed the king. And then sooner or later to reveal that all of you who have believed Jesus was the Christ, whether Jews or not, Jews and Gentiles the twain are made one new man in Christ, and Christ in that relationship, Ephesians 2, is a new man. Head of the new man in Christ, Jew and Gentile, the twain made one new man, are not to be regarded as Jew and Gentile respectively.
That's why it's so hurtfully wrong for Michaelson, A.U. Michaelson, to say he, this is Dr A.U. Michaelson the founder and head, so forth, of the First Hebrew Christian Synagogue in Los Angeles. And this fellow Halff, Charles Halff, that is speaking over radios now, speaking over the most powerful station in the world now, 250,000 watt (it's just gone from 125,000 to 250,000 watt) below the Mexican border in Mexico. And... latest literature says that he's just gotten on that station for seven nights or for six nights a week, and he's broadcasting out of San Antonio. Charles Halff knows something of how smart it is with the overwhelming mass of Gentile Christians to announce that he's a Jewish Christian. And so his program is named, "The Christian Jews".
Now maybe some of you are saying, "Are you jealous?" Yes, I'm jealous. I'm not jealous of him, but I'm jealous over God's people with godly jealousy. That's confusing, but it's clever. Many a person will send money to the Christian Jew program that wouldn't send it if you just came in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and just gave His name. Now ... because, that... just like a converted gangster, if I had been a cut-throat gangster, especially if I would have had a Hollywood reputation or something, and was saved in Billy Graham's meeting recently in New York City and come back here, "Oh boy, the Fundamentalists around here and the Pentecostalists and all of them would like to have me speak." There would be a nice little love offering, "converted gangster," because that's the spirit of the age, it's soulish, it's melodrama, you see. "Having men's persons in admiration for advantage."
But, back to this now. What has the key of David to do with the church which is Christ's body? Now if you don't see the force and the value of my question, it's not my fault. I've given you a good many scriptures that will help you to see it. That terminology 'the key of David' doesn't belong in the description 'the church which is Christ's body' and it has no place in the program of the church which is Christ's body. Anyone want to ask a question? Have I raised a question you think I didn't answer? Or have I made a statement you think that isn't backed up by the Word of God? I mean, even the scriptures I've given.
Now... let me say one more word about Charles Halff. I thank God for everything God is doing through everybody He's using, regardless of how He has to overrule. I'm simply saying that that method of A.U. Michaelson and Charles Halff and other Jews to advertise he fact that they are Jews, now occasionally to say I'm a converted Jew that's different, but to make it a part of their steady program is to "know men after the flesh", and that's precisely what we're told not to do. God help you to see that. It doesn't add to Jesus Christ, it adds to that individual and his collections and so on.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works.
Now let me read you one or two comments from these brethren on that "key of David". I think I can find... I didn't mark, from Ironside here; I have it marked in two or three of these other brethren on the 'key of David'. And they, every one, comment that is has to do with David in the kingdom program. Well then what in the world business has it with the church which is Christ's body? I believe it's the kingdom program. I believe these seven assemblies ... well maybe we better
stop and read it. Iíll find it in Gaebelein maybe, and then we'll come back and start in the first part. Or do I have it in Gaebelein? Here's William R Newell. I said two weeks ago that he was regarded, when I was at the Bible Institute, William R Newell was regarded as one of the ablest teachers of the subject of Grace, Law and Grace, in all the world. That's what... learned about him in Moody. And his book on Romans is considered one of the finest expositions that you could buy. This is his book on Revelation. He's quite elderly now, I think probably still living. I heard him personally a little bit. He used to be one of the teachers at Moody Bible Institute years ago, many years ago. Here he says on Philadelphia,
He that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth. Christ remains holy, even if the church has left her first love, hearkened to Balaam, suffered Jezebel and her whoredoms,
and so on.
And here we find Him opening this out to us. He said to John in 1:18, "I have the keys of death and of Hades." Now He has the "key of David." While those spoke of His salvation-power as Victor over Death and the unseen world -- this announces His royal claims as Lord and Head of David's House and looks toward the kingdom.
Now that's exactly what I believe. But William R Newell cannot intelligently believe that and hold onto the church at Philadelphia having to do with the church which is Christ's body. He said this expression 'key of David' has to do with Christ as the king' and the kingdom. That's exactly what I believe. And... I'm not embarrassed my friend. I don't have to cross my fingers and hope you don't catch me in a contradiction with these things. Because what I believe that's written, the key that I'm using, fits. It doesn't wreck one lock in order to open one here. It fits, and I hope you see that.
As I told you two weeks ago, one of the most hurtful things about this teaching is that we have the church at Laodicea, supposed to be a Christian church in the last days, the last one, and we have no hint that any Christian in it should come out. I called your attention to... that's what the late John Murdock MacInnis, dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and acting pastor at the time of the Church of the Open Door, scholarly man, Th.D., and he always used the Th.D. behind his name in his, signature. Dr John Murdock MacInnis said to me, when I was considering accepting the call to be assistant pastor of the Church of the Open Door of which he was acting pastor, talking to me you know about the possible future, he said, "Brother Johnson, your experiences with the Fundamentalists and Modernists in the Methodists", I had just had a battle in the Methodist Conference where I was a pastor, he said, "Your experience is very interesting. By the way, have you ever noticed, I never noticed till the other morning. My wife called my attention. We'd been studying the book of Revelation, reading it in our home devotions, and we were on the 3rd chapter the other morning and my wife said, "Did you ever notice that in spite of the awful condition of Laodicea, the Lord gave no-one commands to come out?" And I thought, "What's he getting at? Why did he give that to me now, just after mentioning my fight with the Modernists and Methodists, if he isn't giving me a mild rebuke." And as I said to you two weeks ago, I think that's one of the things that the Lord used to make me very, very hesitant and finally more than hesitant about accepting the flattering invitation to be assistant pastor at the Church of the Open Door, when they had their own radio station. And I preached Sunday night and got a nice check Tuesday morning from the clerk from having supplied the pulpit at the C.O.D., and I preached on the subject "Was Christ the Modern Sinbearer?", and went out over their own radio station. But when I thought, "Now wait a minute the acting pastor under whom I would be an assistant, says, "Isn't it interesting that the church which is [Laodicea] and all of its awful condition," ... "that the Lord never said a thing to anybody in it to come out." Well does that nullify Paul's inspired command that I know was written to the Christian church, 2 Corinthians 6?" There he says, "Come out" Don't he unequally yoked." But in Laodicea He says, "Stay in that rotten thing. I'm going to spew it out of My mouth, but you be sure to stay in." "Well, I choose to stay in Father." "I'm going to burn the whole thing up. Don't you come out." And I thought, "Now ...wouldn't I like to be assistant under him." Well I wouldn't, and I didn't, and I wasn't. But he was right if this position is correct that Laodicea refers to the church of Jesus Christ at any time, I mean the body of Christ, the Christian church.
Well you say what does it refer to? Revelation 1. Now I've given you basically things that I think will help anybody, numbers of them, in reading and checking up for yourself and see if my assertions and affirmations and conclusions are Biblically sound.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
The word 'revelation' comes from the word 'apocalypse'. The Roman Catholics when they put out their so-called English translation, instead of naming this last book, or translating the word, they put down the big long Greek word 'Apocalypse'. And you read in your Duoay translation on Genesis they got the word Genesis, on Exodus they got Exodus, on Numbers they got Numbers, on 1 Corinthians they got 1 Corinthians, on Acts they got Acts, on the last book they got Apocalypse. Imagine if I were a nice ol' dyed-in-the-wool Roman Catholic like Mike here a few years ago, and Mike decided he was going to read his Roman Catholic Duoay translation, and he turns to the last book Apocalypse. "Thank you Father. I don't know what in the Sam-hill it means, but", pardon me, "thank you Father; Apocalypse." And yet it's supposed to be the revelation. That's the meaning of the Greek word, the revelation, the drawing aside of the curtain that otherwise hid from our view the Lord Jesus. His revelation. We'll read in 2 Thessalonians about the revelation of Jesus Christ when He comes back in flaming fire. That'll be His revelation, because that'll be the revelation of His person.
My friend, members of the church which is Christ's body have nothing to do as such with the revelation of Christ in His person. Because our relationship to Him is members of His body in this new man. Now when the time comes for Christ's revelation of His person, then we should expect to see and hear some descriptions of His person. And that's exactly what we see in the 1st chapter, and all through the book of Revelation. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. It's not the revelation as to what the church is. Paul said, "Now God now wants to make known what is... the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we present." We're to present Christ in and through our lives in this whole dispensation. It's not God's time to reveal the person of His Son that He might be seen in His unbearable holiness and majesty. That's not Christ's relationship with the church which is His body, don't you see that? If it were, Paul would give it. Because it was given to Paul to complete the Word of God for the church which is Christ's body.
Now less somebody misunderstand. Everything ... somebody might say, "Well then, you're contending that the only thing we can believe for today, all of the Bible that's for today, is Paul's epistles." I haven't said anything remotely akin to that. I do believe this: Everything in the Bible that is not perfectly consistent with Paul's revelation... given by God through Paul, everything in the Bible anywhere that is not in harmony with what Paul was given to reveal about the church must not be taken as church truth. Putting the blood of a woolly lamb over the... top and side posts of a door in Egypt is a part of the inspired Word of God for me, but it doesn't belong to the church program. All reasonable, intelligent Christians know that, recognize that. It's a part of the inspired Word of God which is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness; but it's not church truth. It's not in the walk. It's not church truth.
Now, to continue here.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants.
To show unto His servants; Did you know, there is a very definite sense in which this is not walking by faith. The people who open this and will actually see Christ when He comes, will be walking by faith? It will be the opposite of faith, it's the revelation. It's what they are going to see just... the antichrist, when he sees it, it's going to put the fire back on him. We're told he's going to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's apocalypse. The brightness of His appearing. The very brightness of His coming when He'll be revealed from heaven in flaming fire. The sight is going to be unbearable to the antichrist.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.
Now do you think He would mean that would shortly come to pass for 1900 years? Maybe 2000? Things which must shortly come to pass for 1900 long drawn-out years.? No, I don't think He meant that at all.
And he sent and signified it by the angel unto his servant John.
I called to your attention two weeks ago that I believe the word 'signified' here is one of the words used here that makes it very plain to a Spirit taught Christian that this isn't church truth, because signs are not for members of the body of Christ. Signs don't belong in the program; we walk by faith. And the signs that Christ ... miracles He performed as signs were performed and later recorded to prove that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God... the Son of David, and the King. And we do not need any of the church truth signified after Paul had the signs of an apostle that accredited his apostleship. We don't have anything signified. If we do, the Pentecostalists are right, and Rome with her Lourdes and all; let's have more miracles and signs, more miracles and signs.
My dear friend, the only way we can meet the worst heresies abroad today, the wildest, the most dangerous cult, is to know what is the church of Jesus Christ. Nobody can meet Seventh Day Adventism consistently and powerfully and refute it who doesn't know the difference between the church and the kingdom. Doesn't know the difference between... the fact that the keys to the kingdom don't open the door to the new man. Let me say it again. The keys to the kingdom of David don't open the door to the new man. Let me say it again. The keys of David, the keys of David don't open the door to the new man. The keys to the kingdom open the door, will open the door to the kingdom, to the kingdom. And nobody can get into the kingdom and its Messianic, Davidic phase today because it's been taken away, it's taken away, when the king went to the cross and back to the glory. Let me go ahead now.
He signified it by his angel unto his servant John: and bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
That goes back you see to the testimony of Jesus Christ and all things that he S-A-W. Paul said, "I know a man upwards of 14 years ago caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or not I don't know, and saw things and heard things not lawful to utter. I don't know whether I had my body along but I was caught up into the third heaven." Well I think maybe he saw the very things that John saw here. But it wasn't Paul's prerogative, it wasn't in his calling to reveal things he saw in the glory, but it was John's because they have to do with the person of Christ. Just like it wasn't Paul's calling to be caught up on the top of the mountain and see Christ physically transfigured. Because that has to do with Christ on earth as the king, and before He went to the cross, He called three of those kingdom gospel preachers Peter, James, John, who had just been bewildered and amazed when He said, "I'm going to have to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the chief priests and elders and be put to death." And Peter, one of the leading kingdom gospel preachers, said, "Oh no, Lord. Be it far from Thee. Oh no, You won't have to die." And Christ said, "Get thee behind Me, Satan. You savor not the things of God but of the devil." But He did leave them bewildered, amazed. "You'll inherit the king, You empowered us to preach the kingdom's at hand and heal, perform all kinds of miracles, raising the dead, casing out demons, You gave us power over all the power of the enemy to tread down scorpions and demons and that it wouldn't hurt us at all, and now You say You've got to go and die. What will happen to the kingdom?" "There are some standing here that won't taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." And after six days. He took Peter, James, John aside up on a high mountain and was transfigured before them and they saw Him in something of His undimmed Shekinah glory. First Moses and Elijah were there, the two great Old Testament witnesses (they may be the ones that will come back in the tribulation, I don't know, maybe Enoch and Elijah, I don't know). There are Moses and Elijah and then directly Moses and Elijah pass off the scene, and they saw no man save Jesus only. But He was a transfigured king in a little bit of the same splendor that John talked about here, I verily believe.
But that transfiguration scene doesn't have a thing whatever to do with Christ in His relationship as the head of the church. Don't you see the difference? The reason He gave that? And get the context there in Matthew 16 and the last part on into the 17th chapter after He began to say, "I've got to go and die." "Oh no," Peter said, "not so Lord." "You're talking with the mouth of the devil, the words of the devil. But I'll show you. There is some of you here that won't taste of death till you see." He called three of them aside and gave them a preview of His revelation. He gave them a preview of His apocalypse. The great revelation of Christ as the king.
John bare record of these ... the angel bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia.
Were they all in exactly the same spiritual condition? If they were, he'd have just written one letter, and sent just one letter to all of you, and I'm going to tell you what I can commend you for and what I can condemn you for. But he didn't write just one letter did he?
Not long ago I asked a dear brother who is mixed up. I don't think he's mixed-up on this, I think he's mixed up in his soul, he's defeated. I know he's defeated from other... many, many experiences and things I know about him. That's always the way. Nobody is continuously mixed up on Scripture ... because they are mixed up in their soul. I saw that and told Earl Grove long before his false contentions began to build up, catapult almost, go up, pole vault into an awful mass of cleverly worked up false doctrine. His soul was out of the will of God... before he began to want to get something to prove that we're wrong. As God said to Job, "Will thou disannul Me that thou mayest be found righteous?" Oh, let's be careful, let's be careful, as we study the Bible. This is the most dangerous book ever written my friend. Because it's the most glorious. Is there anything that a Christian can ever do that he should do with as much fear and trembling as working out his salvation? Because there is nothing that a Christian ever has or could have that's so glorious as his salvation. That's why we're told, "'Work out your salvation with fear and trembling because God worketh in you." You give me a dime to carry cross town to give to somebody and I'll stick it in my pocket, all right, put in my match pocket, all right. "But you see I've got a million dollars in cash I want you to take down the Federal Reserve Bank. Have you got an armored car? Want some motorcycle cops?" "Listen, I don't want to carry that." That's a crude illustration but maybe you'll get the point. It's a dangerous thing to read this book, because it can be glorious too.
(question from audience)
They don't ... these teachers ... he's asking the question that says these seven churches of Asia, how can they be worldwide? These teachers, to whom I'm referring, claim that they were in Asia and that's the most ridiculous thing about their teaching, almost is, that they first say there were seven, and right there, and the conditions of the church at Ephesus at the time John wrote was the condition described in the letter to Ephesus, and the condition of the church at Sardis at the time John wrote was the condition in the letter written to Smyrna, and the condition of the church here at the same time was the condition in the letter to that church, and so on. And they claim to forget all about that and stay that the condition of all of them in that first year was the condition described in Ephesus. Honestly my friend. Listen, anybody that'll take that and fight for it, isn't fighting for that. Because they can't see it, it's unseeable, it's hopelessly contradictory. God help us to see that.. Make it plain in your own thinking by prayerful study.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before the throne.
Now I do not believe that the Spirit of God would have had John talk about seven spirits for the church which is Christ's body. We are to walk in this present dispensation worthy the calling wherewith we're called endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. What is it? There is one body (church), one Spirit; Now this is a different aspect just like Christ in His physical appearance is Christ in a different office than Christ as the head of the church, invisible, not revealed. And so this expression here, seven spirits, doesn't fit with the 'unity of the Spirit', 'one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father'. Anyway to me it doesn't at all. It's a different line of thought. A different... plain. I believe for today we're in the spiritual plain, the high, so far as sinners having anything to do, and the plain on which John the beloved is writing is down here. We see Christ in His glory, but it's Christ in His relationship to His future earthly program, some of the past, and His future earthly program, not for the church which is Christ's body at all. Now watch.
From the seven Spirits which are before his throne.
Well, the Spirit I'm interested in primarily, He's in my heart and life. He came at the feast of Pentecost from the glory to indwell the members of the body. Now here's a picture in the Spirit, seven Spirits, before the throne and were going to see the Lord there in what relationship and in what capacity (now watch) and office?
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness.
Well Christ is a faithful witness to what? To the church which is His body? He never did witness to that. He witnessed to Israel. But Christ was never a faithful witness to the church which is His body. He's the head of that. And we're in Him. Christ isn't a faithful witness to us. And He was faithful witness to Israel when He was on earth.
Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead.
That has to do of course with His resurrection.
And the prince of the kings of the earth.
What's that got to do with people who are on earth as pilgrims? What's that got to do with members of the church which is Christ's body while He's in the glory seated at the right hand of the Father? But here we find Him in His relationship to the earth, He's the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved vs, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
That goes back of course to His work on the cross.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.
Is that then the same relationship as ambassadors, pilgrims and strangers on earth, kings and priests? I brought out on the radio, if they played the tape I made, this morning in Delano referring to a little Campbellite preacher in Bakersfield. I said, "Imagine people that claim that the church is the kingdom of God." I said, "About the worst case I know of that locally is a little fellow in Bakersfield that claims his little organization, water salvation crowd, is the kingdom of God, and he's a king and priest reigning on earth. But I hear he got dethroned here a little while ago, run out by his elders, kicked out of the building, and that little king and priest in Bakersfield (now they are a pitiful little handful), but... he's still a king reigning with a rod of iron, and they ran him out of his meeting house, dispossessed him, dethroned him." Now if somebody thinks I'm ugly in saying that, if you'd had just have been at Mount Moriah...
Mount Carmel when Elijah made fun of those 850 priests, you'd have thought he was really bad. You know how he made fun of them. I would like to have been there and I think I would have said, "Sick 'em, Elijah." I think I would have said, "Goodie! Go to it boy. Show them what contempt you have for their fake god, and their bloody prayers to their dead dumb idol, instead of Jehovah the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.
Is that the coming of Christ for the church? No, that's His coming as the Messiah in His second coming to earth, when He comes in the clouds. That's His coming that the angels talked about in Acts the 1st chapter the 11th verse. The twelve apostles had been taken out on the Mount of Olives by the risen Christ and talking awhile, gave them commissions and went up into the glory; clouds received Him out of their sight, visibly. And while they stand, there gazing up into heaven, two men in white apparel came and said, "Ye men of Galilee why stand ye gazing up into heaven, for this same Jesus, which you see go into heaven, shall even so come in like manner," as a king go into heaven. That's not the second coming of Christ for the body. Peter didn't know anything about the body, and those disciples there on the Mount of Olives didn't know anything about the body, the church which is Christ's body. That mystery ... Christ has referred to the church, but hasn't revealed it, and they didn't know about it. And they were led to still preach Him as the Messiah, the King of the Jews, Redeemer, until Paul was saved and received the revelation of the church which is Christ's body. But now watch.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.
Go back and read in Zechariah and Joel and all about that. The Jewish remnant will see Him and say, "Oh, our poor fathers killed the Son of David, the Messiah", "they which pierced him".
They which pierced him: and all kindred of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Don't you see all these things have to do with His physic... His person, and time, and earth. We don't think of Christ in terms of time; we have eternal life in Him. And He's going to show to us ... God's going to show forth the pleasures of the glory of Christ's grace by the church throughout all ages we read in Ephesians 3. The time clock, it has been well said, that God's prophetic clock stopped when He broke the last natural olive branch off. And the church is a dateless, unprophesied period, timeless. There is no prophetic clock for the church which is Christ's body. It's a program never revealed before.
My friends these are important truths. It's important that we see the peculiarities of the church which is Christ's body in order to know what God wants us to be and do. And then we can see how the devil comes in with various degrees and kinds of doctrines and cults to obliterate, to obscure, to dilute, to adulterate, to mess-up this wonderful truth that God's people are one redeemed company down here as a bunch of pilgrims and strangers, and our work is up in the realm of the Heavenlies in Christ, and we have no confidence in the flesh, if we're God's people taught by the Spirit of God.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John,
Now John's going to give us some data about where he was when he got this revelation. Now watch.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation.
Companion in tribulation? What tribulation, John?
And in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
Now if John had said, "I am your fellow member of the church which is Christ's body," I would just bow and say there is no doubt in the world he identifies himself as a member of the body. Now he was a member of the body, but he refers ... so were Peter, James, and John when Paul said, "Now God chose me to go to the Gentiles, you go ahead to the Jews." Well, when they went to the circumcision they were members of the body, but they were functioning as Jewish apostles still proving that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. And the fact that they and Paul and Barnabas were, and believing Gentiles, were in the new man hadn't yet been revealed, and God wouldn't have it revealed through Peter, James, and John. He had it revealed to and through Paul. That's plain. I hope it is to many of you. Surely it is to many of you.
Now watch. Watch now.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos.
Where was Paul when he wrote Ephesus? In the Roman jail. What does he make of the time element .. now watch, watch now.
I was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
In Ezekiel, 8th chapter the 3rd verse, we. read of Ezekiel being taken by the hair by Almighty God and brought ever here and shown some things he couldn't otherwise have seen. And then he revealed what God showed him by supernaturally taking him by the hair of the head and carrying him over. I believe it's a perfect parallel to this.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
Now imagine John says, "I was in the Spirit on Sunday." Then square that with Paul staying (now that's the teaching of all these people), square that with Paul saying, "I'm afraid of you Gentiles of Galatia, you observe days, and months, and years. I'm afraid of them." (It would be a long Sunday.) And imagine when Paul wrote to the Ephesians (sic), he said, "Don't let anybody judge you any more in respect to meats or holy days or Sabbath days"
But all of the Plymouth Brethren (thank God for most of their teaching) and these men Gaebelein, and Ironside, and Talbot, which is about the third generation from the Plymouth Brethren, Talbot popularizes, and of course Orr (I hate to mention the name in the same breath). Orr says, "Of course you can be a Christian without joining a church. But it's conceivable you could swim to the Solomon Islands but it would be better if you get a boat. Now can you conceive anybody swimming to Solomon Island?" But that's passed off by some people as being cute. I say it's contemptible trifling with the Word of God. His parallel is mud. It's simply a muck of confusion. Of course you can be a Christian and not join a church. You can swim to Solomon Island, but you'd be better to ride a boat. In other words, what he's saying, if he's saying anything, is you cannot be saved unless you join something, because he knows you can't swim to Solomon Islands. But that's the kind of chatter that makes the man get a doctor's degree. Mixing it with the Word of God, you see. Because it takes the sting out, it takes the edge... it's the sword of the Spirit, it avoids the offense of the cross, see. That's what it does. If there is something that you can do in your flesh that God will accept in the religious realm, then the cross isn't the standard, you didn't die on the cross. Paul said, "lf I yet preach something you can do, circumcision, then why do I yet suffer persecution? Then the scandal of the cross would cease."
My friends, we need to see that the cross of Jesus Christ is God's dividing line between two Adams, and there isn't a church... now you take one of the troubles with calling a church "Calvary Church" that men start and somebody can join, Calvary Baptist, I see them every once in a while, Calvary Presbyterian, Calvary this, Calvary Lutheran. You know one reason ... the one thing bad about it is that they pretend that they are on this side of the resurrection. If they said, "We're Calvary Church, we're just Adam, we're heading for Calvary," I would say, "You sure are." Crucifixion, but... it might be the antitype of those that crucify the Son of God'' afresh. The cross of Jesus Christ my friend is God's dividing line between two Adams. Everything on this side is in Adam dead in trespasses and sins. And everything on this side is in the second man, the new man, Christ. Letís not forget that, and remember, "Now in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation." Oh, let's contend for the fact that as Christians, we're members of everything that God has on the resurrection side of the cross. Everything that God has on the resurrection on this side of the grave, the resurrection side of the cross. Everything that God has I'm a member of. You believe that, as a Christian? Are you? Everything that God has on this side of the cross.
Imagine saying Laodicea is a church of Jesus... is the church in the last period; last part of the church dispensation. It's an awful insult to Jesus Christ. I don't mean that everybody that embraces it understands it. You know a fellow can be driving an automobile, a lot of people in his car, school bus... in a momentís comparative innocent inattention, look over this way; car comes down, crash, kills several students. He didn't murder them with premeditated intent, but they are dead just the same, they are buried just the same.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
I believe that that's the Lord's day. I know some of the arguments about the Greek and all. I believe he's referring to the day of the Lord. And nowhere in all the Word of God is Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, Thursday; called the Lord's day. And to call Sunday the Lord's day to me is utterly ridiculous, I mean very hurtfully wrong. What does anybody who's a new creature in Jesus Christ with everlasting life care for a particular day? Huh? You know, I want to meet you on Tuesday in heaven. In heaven we won't care, we won't care whether it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
I want to meet you in heaven on the Lord's day in heaven. Even on the Lord's day Iíll come back with the Lord all right in flaming fire, with the Lord in flaming fire, on the Lord's day. Yes sir, I'll be back. I'll come back with the Lord when He comes back with ten thousands of His saints, 2 Thessalonians. I'll be back; come back then. But as a Christian, as a member of the body of Christ, I'm not observing a day now and certainly don't expect to in the future.
But now watch.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest,
notice this 'seest'. How much did Paul write about the church which is Christ's body as a result of what he saw? What he saw?! He was revealing spiritual truth. Donít you see the difference? Spiritual truth. As it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," and so forth. "But God hath revealed them through His Spirit," 1 Corinthians 2.
I Was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard a voice, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, first and the last: What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man.
As I said two weeks ago, try to find the title Son of man in all Paul's epistles. Not once. Not once. Christ referred to Himself as the Son of man about 80 times when He was on earth. About 80 times. In His relationship to the ministry of the circumcision on earth, the Son of Man. Because the first man, you see, died in trespasses and sin, and all of his children are born stillborn. Born dead to God. And so when Christ appeared from heaven, He's the Son of man. The Son of man; rest are on the cross. And the second man, the second, The Son of Man.
All right now, I must close pretty soon, so listen as carefully as you can.
One like unto the Son of man. One like unto the Son of man.
Now my friend that's interesting that that title is never used by the Spirit of God in Paul's epistles as the unique messenger for the church which is Christ's body and apostle to the Gentiles. But over and over and over again of Christ in relationship to Israel and the earth. Not that that title confines Him to the earth, I don't mean that. One like unto the Son of man.
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Know anything like that in Paul's inspired epistles about Christ in His relationship to the church? Why of course not. It's just a different plain of truth my friend. They are parallel but they never converge, and they are certainly not identical. It's a different plain; it doesn't belong in this present program at all. God help you to see it.
Look! Look. What do the things I'm giving rob any Christian of? Brother LaForce, have you thought along these lines? Have these positions made you think less of Christ as the head of His church? Have they made you think less of the walk of the believer in Christ as the new man?
(Earl LaForce answers from audience.)
Look! What did you who are wanting to be separated unto Christ in this day of apostasy, and that's ever here in Laodicea, and you say we're not in Laodicea we're in Philadelphia, well then don't say there's seven churches and the first one represents the first hundred years of the church, and the second the next period, and the third the third period, and the fourth the fourth period, and the fifth the fifth period, and the sixth and seventh the same period. Because you don't want to get out of Philadelphia and be in Laodicea. You're just a stuck-up hypocrite. You're just a bigot. Your theory teaches that these are seven chronological periods but when we get to the last two, you say, "Uh-oh."
I don't want to be in Laodicea, so I'll claim the last time we have Philadelphia and Laodicea together, running together. So as I said awhile ago the Lord has two churches at one time. My friends, if you don't get anything else that I give this afternoon, it's a sledgehammer blow, hammer of God's Word that smashes this theory in pieces, get that; that there can't be two churches on earth that are Christian, that are the Lord's golden candlestick. One of them is brass or tin or something, it's not gold if there are two on earth at the same time.
I'm going to stop pretty soon because it's so late, though I would like to go farther, but a little bit more please now.
In the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire.
Now watch. What... has that got to do... as a living, vital vision... to the church at Ephesus or the whole church in the first period? Nothing, because He didn't appear. Still in heaven. What did this revelation have to do with the church of the second period? Nothing! because He's still seated at the right hand of the Father. And the third period, and the fourth, and the fifth. It was a head that didn't belong to them because He never came. And he hasn't come so far in Philadelphia and Laodicea. But my friend, in the day of the Lord, He'll come suddenly to His temple. There'll be a remnant of Jews tearing their hearts and not their garments in true repentance as they realize they are about to be destroyed by the antichrist, Joel the 2nd chapter, and they will cry to God and they will pray that prayer, "Our Father". They will be told if you don't have the mark of the beast, Revelation 13, have the mark of the beast in your forehead or right hand you can't buy nor sell, you can't get anything to eat. And they will pray this prayer, "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed," separated from this counterfeit christ, "hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us..." And then the Lord will hear and come down and this will be the vision. This will be the vision of the Lord in this aspect.
And his head and his hair were as white as wool.
Daniel describes it, and these Bible teachers say that this fits Daniel's description. And they will turn right around and say that Daniel doesn't know anything about the church, that the church is never revealed in Daniel, and they are right. But Daniel talks about this same scene. Compare the scriptures back in Daniel, and see.
His head and his hairs were white like wool, and as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.
Is that the relationship of Christ seated on the throne of grace? We're told that grace is now reigning through righteousness by Jesus Christ. Aren't you glad Christ isn't sitting over you now with eyes like a flame of fire. This is the day of grace. But my friend, this isn't the day of grace here, this is the day of the Lord in its beginning pictured here.
His eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass.
Every Bible teacher I know of that I believe is a God-fearing, saved man at all, on the subject of brass teaches that brass, from way back in the tabernacle days, that brass represents judgment, judgment, in the Bible, judgment. Now Christ's feet are brass. Now Browns, I'm glad to have you and your wife physically from up in Seattle. You believe that Christ in His relationship as the head of the church which is His body has feet of brass? I don't, and He doesn't either. No sir. Christ today my friend, seated in the glory, never mind what kind of feet He has because He's seated. I speak reverently. I speak reverently! I don't care what kind of feet He has now, I mean so far as knowing, because He's not using them. God the Father said, "Sit at My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." You understand what I mean don't you? That we're not to think of Christ in connection with what kind of feet He has now in the heavens. And certainly we can't Biblically think He has feet of brass as the head of the church.
Is this doing violence to the truth about the church of Jesus Christ and Christ's relationship to us now? Of course not, I hope that your heart says with me, "Of course not, of course not." I'm not robbing anybody here this afternoon of your love for Christ, or for preventing you from knowing Him more surely in His present relationship and capacity relationship to His own and capacity to the church.
And his feet like unto brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
That figure is used over and over again in the prophecies back yonder. And in Revelation. God in His majestic and awful, terrifying power, not as the one seated head over all things to the church which is His body in this day of grace.
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
That reminds me of the transfiguration scene. Read about it in the 16th and 17th of Matthew and the 9th of Mark and Luke, both chapters I think the same, both books the same chapter, Matthew 16 and 17 the transfiguration.
And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, and saith unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.
Paul said, "King Agrippa, I'm not ashamed; haven't been disobedient to the heavenly vision." The heavenly vision, I don't think it's the same vision that Paul's referring to there that John is here. And
I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.
Now you see all of. this is out of connection with the thought of members of the body. When Paul was caught into the third heavens, "Paul, where was your body?" "Ho, ho, I wasn't caught up there as a physical ... I don't know whether my body was there or not." But John said He laid His right hand upon me. That seems like an individual Israelite dealing with an individual king, the Messiah, the Son of David. Doesn't it to you?
I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; and the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.
Where are they? Asia. At the time, whatever time that was that John was on the isle of Patmos in the Spirit, "I was in the Spirit." Tenth verse, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." All right, whenever that was. Either 90 A.D. or even yet to come in the tribulation, the day of the Lord, when the Lord gets ready to come back to earth. At that time there were seven churches in Asia.
And seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
One of them is Laodicea. If that is the church which is Christís body, then it is, Christ on the outside of the mess and He's going to spew it out of His mouth. You can understand that can't you? You want to still suck that all-day sucker of tradition of men? Ironside said, "Well they tried various things, and somebody suggested, "Well you try this key," and they tried that, it didn't fit, tried that, it didn't fit, tried this one and it just fit perfectly." And I've been trying it and it gives me a fit. It doesn't fit at all. It sure doesn't fit. Doesn't fit at all.
I'll just read a little bit and then stop. If you have a few questions we'll entertain them for a little bit and then we'll stop. But I hope you haven't anything more important, though you might have something that you should do, but you probably haven't anything more important than this this afternoon. Nels Thompson used to rebuke some of us. Thank God we took it, and it helped us. He'd say, "Job said, I have esteemed Thy Word more than my necessary food."
Are you hungry for hamburgers? Anxious to go home and eat? Job said, "I have esteemed Thy Word more than my necessary food." "Thy Word was found and I did eat", "sweet to my taste, but bitter to my belly." That it's hard on the old nature. If god's your belly ... your god is your belly, it will be hard on you.
Unto the angel of the church at Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
That isn't the picture of Christ as head of the church and indwelling every member of the body in the spiritual sense.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience:, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Now of course these things apply. So does Genesis, humbly compared with other scriptures and rightly divided. So does Exodus, so do the Psalms. It's written for our learning, yes. Inspired of God and a part of the things we need to study, yes. But He's not talking about the church which is Christ's body.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Well just what would have happened to the church which is Christ's body if the candlestick got moved out? Because remember, according to this theory we've been talking about, part of the time, all of the church in the first hundred years was Ephesus. And so He's threatening the baby church that "I'm going to take you clear out", because they are a candlestick. It's one o f the seven. "Take you clear out," a golden candlestick, "going to take you clear out."
Now that will apply to Israel as it has before. It will apply to assemblies. It may be that right now, in Asia, right now in Asia, certainly if the war clouds gather and the Jews in Palestine wake up to the fact that the Arabs with Russia helping them, King Nasser on the head of this outfit, is about to crush them as Nasser and the Arabs say, "Our only hope is to annihilate the Jew" (Nasser says it openly you know, the king of Egypt, big shot), and it could be that very soon the Jews, maybe some of them now, "We know that conditions are existing that may mean our annihilation any minute. As far as I'm concerned I'm going to get out of Palestine. I'm going to Asia." We don't know how many are in Asia now and it could be, very short time, we don't know how fast it could happen, that there would be assemblies of Jews, churches (I'll go ahead, I have perfect liberty) church at Ephesus, church at Sardis, church at Smyrna, church in all these towns, whether all that's there now or not, some of them are back there in the days of John, yes, but all of them could be, and I believe will be, in Asia. And there will be Jews there and they will be recognizing that their program for a restored Israel nation has run into terrible snags and that no possible hope but the hope of supernatural intervention. And the time element? Things can happen very fast, we don't know how long; they could lose their first love very shortly, very soon.
But now watch, the point I'm getting at is that the other teaching will not fit the church which is Christ's body and its program. But this is the only explanation that I believe is an explanation. That they are seven assemblies. Now watch; whether they were seven assemblies that actually existed at the time John wrote... doesn't in any sense at all embarrass what I believe is the truth as to the future. Because notice, so far as Peter's sermon in Acts 3 is concerned, what did Peter hold out to those Jews in Acts 3? "Now I want you to know, that though you accept Jesus as the king right now," a few months and weeks after He was crucified and risen, "though you accept Him as the Son of David, Son of God, King, Redeemer, King of the Jews, I want you to know that you can't possibly have the kingdom, the times of refreshing won't come for 1900 odd years." No, he didn't say that. He said, "Repent that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing come." In other words, Peter could have ... let's suppose Peter now is speaking to Jewish believers that have come from Ephesus in Asia for the feast, some from Ephesus, and some from Smyrna, some from Sardis, and some from Thyatira, and Pergamos, and Philadelphia, and Laodicea, and here they are listening to Peter preach at Acts 3. And he says, "Listen, you Jews, you receive Jesus as the Messiah and the next thing you may see is His coming with white hair, and His feet like burning brass, out of His mouth a sword. Now if you get ready and prepare, your sins, repent of your sins, will be blotted out when the times of refreshing come, for the heavens must receive Him until the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of the prophets."
I repeat, these Pre-millennial Bible students say that the picture in Revelation about Christ's personage is exactly what Daniel predicted. And they all say that what Daniel was talking about was Christ coming back in the day of the Lord in the tribulation period.
Now watch. I'm going to stop pretty soon. I hope you've gotten a good many things that you want to check up on, and that rung the bell in your heart though you want to check up and see that it is the truth rightly divided.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deed of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Men that assume positions as leaders in the church and so on.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Listen. I am not looking at all for a chance to eat of the tree of life. I'm not concerned, I don't expect to nibble, I don't expect to nibble on the fruit of the tree of life, if I understand the Word of God correctly. I've already passed from death unto life, I have everlasting life, and I'm not concerned with the tree that God told Adam, "I'm not going to let you eat of, and I've driven you out of the garden; I've put cherubim there with a flaming sword to keep you from getting back in, lest you eat of the tree of life and live forever." But there is going to be a rebuilding of Eden and the tree of life's going to be there and they are going to have a chance to eat of the tree of life. Brother Southall, are you waiting to get a bite of the fruit of the tree of life? I have everlasting life and I don't expect to eat of that tree at all. But I expect to see some of the good ol' godly Jews in the tribulation period say, "We won't eat of the bread of the antichrist, we want the bread of the tree of life," and so forth. Yes sir.
Well, I've enjoyed, not my part of it, but the beautiful truth. I'm just more and more sure my friend it does honor to the Lord Jesus and it doesn't mess up anything. I'm not embarrassed. If you want to try to embarrass me, not that you want to do that, but have you a question? Feel free to ask it now. It isn't necessarily your question so far as we know, it may be a question you think somebody else has but hasn't asked.
(comment from audience) Referring to Paul's real revelation to the people at Laodicea, the whole book of Colossians.
I'll read just a portion of it.
It's probably because Paul mentions Laodicea in his epistle to Colossi.
(continuing from audience) "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above" ...
... "seek those things" ...
(continuing from audience) where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead" ...
... "for ye are dead" ...
(continuing from audience) ..."and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Now ...
(continuing from audience.) "And cause this letter to be read in Laodicea."
(continuing from audience) And in reference to that over here in the 3rd chapter and 20th verse that they are going to be spewed out of His mouth.
You know that you new creatures that are seated in the glory in Christ are going to be spewed out of His mouth? I don't either.
(continuing from audience) It says in Colossians here that that letter was to be read to them.
Now remember that whatever Christians there were in the town of Laodicea at the time Paul wrote Colossians were in the body of Jesus Christ. And remember; (just a moment) before he gave that in the 3rd chapter he had just written in the 2nd chapter, "Now since you're in Christ and complete in Christ, don't let anybody judge you in respect to meat or drink or holyday whether it's the Lord's day, Sunday, or what." Yes.
(comment from audience) Jesus Christ spoke unto His disciples saying, "That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
(continuing from audience) Paul is not in that.
Good. That's before the last supper, and at the last supper He repeated the same except the word 'regeneration'. He said, Luke 22:27-28, "Now ye are they which have continued with Me during My temptation. And behold I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father appointed Me; you shall sit at My table in My kingdom and eat and drink, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Thank you, brother Brown, from Seattle.
Yes. Anybody else a question? Well you've been patient. Some of you young folks haven't studied enough maybe for some of these things to already be very interesting to you, but just remember that we all need to. There are some things in your school life that you don't always sit up and enjoy thoroughly but you need to go through it. Yes?
(comment from audience) As far as my understanding, He says we should right now watch and pray and wait for Him ..
... That's right ...
(continuing from audience) ... and we're not of this world. He has gone to prepare a place for us which is found in the 14th chapter of St John, and therefore, one of these days., when He's coming ... I don't know the verse ...
... We're supposed to be ...
(continuing from audience) ... I'm just supposed to love Him. And He gave me that chance to find that leads to Him.
Amen. Anybody else with a 'question on the subject? Yes?
(comment from audience) That last question. The best thing that helped me about the book of Revelation is that it is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Yeah. And it's the revelation of Jesus Christ, that's right. As to His physical person and His relationship to Israel and the earth and the ungodly. .
(comment from audience) I was thinking here of these. What do you think of John 21:21-22? Do you think that's a prophecy of John living ... "John not die till I come"?
Yeah. I think it could well be. He says what do I think of the passage in the book of John we're the Lord Jesus while still on earth, the Lord said, "What is it to thee if John"... what is it?
(comment from audience) "Tarry till I come."
"Tarry till I come." In other words, he may not die, "tarry till I come." And he was wondering if that could be the same as the transfiguration and this apocalypse was the thought; this John in the Spirit on the Lord's day. And that he saw the Lord in His second coming prophetically and pictorially in the inspired book of Revelation. I think it's interesting.
(comment from audience) This thing here that Scofield says in his notes that these messages ? ? ? ?
Yeah, that's another one. That's another. Of course these merit a careful study of each one of them. Of course we haven't given. So don't misunderstand me, though I've taken too long probably, yet of course I haven't done justice to any one of the letters so far as expounding it, but to cover it. Sometimes we can study a thing synthetically. We can look at a whole chain of mountains from a distance and get closer and look at most of them, and a little closer and a little closer, and then maybe get up on top of one and examine it, and walk down the other side, and get upon the other. There are various ways of study. So I don't believe we've done violence to anything.
Yes, brother Brown.
(comment from audience) "The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Do you think the church will reign on this earth?
The only reason I do is that the Lord Himself is going to. I believe that our specific sphere, or our peculiar sphere is heavenly. But I do not agree with some of the extreme dispensationalists that that proves that we cannot come back to earth at all. And the reason I don't is, I've just given it, because Christ Himself, though head of the church, and certainly He will never be under members of the body, but we will not come back to earth as our citizenship or place, but since Christ Himself is coming back and His feet are going to touch the Mount of Olives and He's going to sit on the throne, I don't think that that throne has to be physical in Jerusalem, I think primarily David will be there, but I verily believe Christ is coming back to the earth. And in that sense I believe the members of His body, while our sphere of reign ... we reign with Christ, and so whatever relationship we can find that Christ will have, His person, His glorified body, whatever relation... I mean His personal body, nail scarred, whatever we can find in the Scriptures about Christ's bodily relationship to this earth will certainly not exclude the church which is His body from being privileged to be here too.
(comment from audience) "We are... we're the eternal habitation of God in the Spirit."
Yes, Ephesians the 2nd chapter.
(continuing from audience) "And we are blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." We are not blessed with earthly things.
Good. That's the sphere. That's exactly what I was trying to say. That's the peculiar sphere of the church which is Christ's body; it's not earth. Neither the back Eden nor the future Eden. I believe that verily. But inasmuch as Christ who is the head of the church which is His body is going to come back to earth, not to make His abode, but He's going to come and reign, and in that sense we cannot think of ourselves as members of the body reigning with Him and never touching this earth, because there'll be nothing wrong with this earth when the Lord has renovated it. Just like there was nothing wrong with Eden when it came from the creative hand of God. Yes?
(comment from audience) The body couldn't be separated from the head.
Fine. That's right. ?
(gap on tape)
Right. That's right. One other, one other. It's so late, we must stop. And you notice I'm talking that way, but I would rather hurry; severe cold for a few days.
Well, thank you. I would rather hurry, severe cold for a few days, and it's settling in my voice... usually I can talk like ? this.
(comment from audience) ? of Jesus Christ ? are in the church, the true church, and it's on the earth today, and their kind of revelation, "For God, who commanded the 'light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Well those are different than Revelation ...
... That's an illustration of the sphere. You were quoting 2 Corinthians 3 (sic). And not when Israel in the day when ? lodged in their hearts, and they can understand the Ten Commandment covenant and keep it. That's very good
One other that wants to refer to something that's been a blessing to you." this afternoon, been helpful to you.
(comment from audience)
...You've already spoken once.
(continuing from audience)
That's right, that's what this brother said. One person who wants to say something that's been helpful to you.
(comment from audience) Bringing up the prayer that the disciples of Christ were taught, or rather were ? ...
... Yeah, the so-called "Lord's prayer".
(continuing from audience) That's the only time that they will be prayed, the Lord' s prayer.
That's right. I don't think anybody ever has prayed that prayer spiritually yet. "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name." I think God can use from seeing the heart people pray. But as far as that prayer being really applied I don't believe it's been prayed in the Spirit yet. But it will by the penitent remnant Jews in the tribulation. Yes?
(comment from audience)
I'll try to answer.
(continuing from audience)
I think so. And that means here. Oh yes, I don't question for a moment that the peculiar sphere of the church is over the whole program. Oh yes, I'm sure that's true. But since we're going to reign with Christ, He being over the earth, "If we suffer with Him, we'll reign with Him."
(comment from audience)
Good enough, that's another one.
(continuing from audience)
And we're going to judge angels too. We're told that in the same passage, 1 Corinthians 4.
Come back at 7:30 and ...
(end of tape)
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