The Masterpiece: Overcomers Will Soon Be Gone
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
It takes my breath to know it is “Home going time.” The world is becoming so filthy that our Father must call a halt to the downward trend. The world is insane over pleasure because it is their survival. People in many cases are making so much money that they are searching for ways to spend it. The Father has planned this day all the way back to creation. He created Adam and Eve to be the grand family of His Son. He charged them to multiply so that the family could be large and joyous.
The Rapture is the final moment of six thousand years of multiplying His happy crowd to love and relish. We are not an accident but a “planned multitude.” He is getting us ready so we can fly to His planned celebration. The Bridegroom will be ready and the hour will be well planned. The angels are busy preparing every mansion and the wedding party will soon be there. There has never been an event to compare with the “Wedding Supper.”
Nine Absolutes for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
- It fits Biblical precedence.
- The Church is to be judged before the world.
- The Bride is to be presented to Christ before the End Time events.
- His absolute promise is given to keep His faithful bride from the Great Tribulation.
- The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the only time that “some will be taken and some will be left.”
- A unique time when those watching will be taken and others will be left.
- The Law of the Farmer that has governed the world and all history.
- The Holy Scripture offers powerfully that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until the restraining forces are removed.
- The Lord emphatically promised that He would catch away His chosen to meet Him in the air.
There is an unprecedented level of love that Jesus Christ, in His exalted glory, clearly reveals for His Body, the church. These seven letters show that great love, His complete knowledge of His church, His correction, and above all His great plans for the church’s future. He corrects because He will judge and reward nothing but faithfulness. There is a consciousness all through these letters of the impending tribulation and a desire to help His Saints escape that dark hour and be found ready for the Rapture of His espoused bride. In every letter, He ends with a promise for the overcomers. The very word overcomer carries a dire warning of troubles to face and a glorious victory for facing those troubles and challenges with triumph.
Every one of the seven churches has had a counterpart in every hour of the church dispensation. Often, the Smyrna churches were hidden away in mountains or meeting in secret in the cities. The Thyatira churches were loving the woman Jezebel and reveling in the careless living she championed. The faithful of the Lord Jesus Christ were, in many cases, serving Christ in spite of rejection and suffering the hatred of those that compromise. There has always been a remnant in spite of all hellish actions on the part of the enemy within and the enemy without. The Lord of the church walked among His pilgrim people, whether it was in a cave, a dungeon, or a cathedral. These letters represent the most current and absolute facts about His relationship to His church in the entire Word of God.
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Revelation 3:1-3
Church historians believe that the Sardis church represents the church of the reformation. Of course, that would only reflect the major events of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other reformation leaders. It was during this period that smaller groups, mostly rejected and persecuted, were the real Biblical churches walking in fundamental Christianity. We will see references to those groups in Revelation 3:4. The churches of the reformation never truly turned from many of the doctrines and questionable teachings of the dark ages. There was almost no prophetic preaching that included this Book of Revelation and this great hope of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Replacement theology that relegated Israel to the ashes was still believed and preached by many. Post-millennialism or A-millennialism was the major doctrine of the reformation churches. Justification was a major step forward, but New Testament Evangelism and Spirit-filled churches were still left for future progress. This period covered the years 1517-1790.
The Lord said, “Thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead.” This statement could not describe the above truth better. The Lord pleaded, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain.” He makes great references to the Rapture, “…thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” There have been Sardis churches all throughout the church age and there are a multitude of these churches at present. He will shortly come upon them as a thief.
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:4-6
Here are those remnant saints that refused to be bound by the doctrines of men. These are saints of God, which have not defiled their garments. These are the Rapture-ready saints “…and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” If you will take a look at the elders in chapter four after the rapture, you will see the faithful company. These seven letters show that the great Lord of the church maintains perfect control. He knows our thoughts afar off and His judgment is perfect. History reflects a pilgrim church far out of the mainstream, but faithful to the Word of God.
2 Peter 3
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Two books that every Christian should read are Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and The Pilgrim Church. There are powerful records of that pilgrim church where literally millions of saints have been killed for their faith. The Anabaptist Christians existed over hundreds of years and covered several different periods of these churches. The Waldensians and Albigenses were some of God’s choice saints. There were thousands of lesser groups that filled communities with revival and then filled the same communities with their blood of martyrdom. There were a host of such saints whose names will not be honored until that marvelous day of reckoning. Every overcomer will be greatly rewarded and will be the hero of our future.
Do not miss the great promise to the church of Sardis. Remember that the seven letters contained many promises, all of them are really for all of His church. He said to those faithful to Him and that are overcomers of the flesh, the world, and the devil, “But I will confess His name before my Father and before His angels.” That has to be the highest honor in the world.
“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: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Revelation 3:7-9
This church is the perfect model and type of the church age existing from the end of the eighteenth century (approximately A.D. 1790) until the Rapture. The open door of evangelism, missions, and the general spiritual atmosphere has been phenomenal. The early church periods, typified in Ephesus and Smyrna, have been the only periods with which to compare. The dark ages snuffed out the light and, by God’s grace, the world witnessed a marvelous reoccurrence of revival. It is clear from Scripture and the history of this period that the move could have been more expansive and supernatural. He stated, “For thou hast a little strength.” Both periods that include the Ephesus and Smyrna churches as well as the Philadelphia churches have faced many difficult periods of false religious, false prophets, and satanic attacks. Every one of the struggles has been duly recorded, and the false crowd will be required to worship before the feet of Jesus. Most of our church world has become so accepting of the false doctrines that they think a mixture is acceptable with God. The statement above is wonderful proof of our God’s total commitment to pure truth.
I often hear Christians erroneously say, “I eat the meat and spit out the bone.” These seven letters are positive truth that we should reject all Biblical error and have neither time nor space for heresy. The Philadelphia church period is extremely strong in denouncing the synagogues of Satan. A little error may not harm a few strong souls but always destroys a multitude in the end. Error progresses downhill and creates more and more damage as it worsens. The Lord promises great benefits and blessings to the defenders of His Infallible Word. He will show the world His love for His revelations.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:10-13
21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
As I previously mentioned, the coming tribulation is evident all throughout these letters to the church. It has been made plain in the Second Testament that His saints are not appointed to wrath, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” I Thessalonians 5:9. The term overcomers was very appropriate as the constant reminder that something was pending, and being overcomers was a prerogative for His church. He told the church of Thyatira that those that loved the woman Jezebel and her deception were going to be cast into the Great Tribulation. There is only one Great Tribulation. He warned the church of Sardis that were overcomers, “I will not blot out his name.” We will discuss a similar warning to the church of Laodicea.
His promise of the Rapture before the Tribulation to the church of Philadelphia is one of the surest in the entire Second Testament. The words are plain that a great event is about to happen on this earth “which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.” The entire world and all of mankind is going to be put through the utter judgment to try their souls unto life or death. There is only one way of escape, and He made it clear that we are the company that has the privilege. Even within the church there is a narrow margin. A very specific crowd will escape, and He describes them plainly. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour.” No way to doubt or to swing a deal. The overcomers will be out of here before the terrible wrath of God is poured on this earth. It is a powerful promise from the Lord of the church and cannot be broken.
The Master adds a warning, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. And in the daytime he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear him” Luke 21:36-38. The Bible affirms to us that the entire judgment period begins with His church. He states, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God …” I Peter 4:17a. The promises that end each letter grow in beauty and purpose to excite His saints. We were never meant to live gloomy lives. The word hope in Scripture means “joyous anticipation.” Hope is the certainty of the promises that cannot fail to fill the hearts of the faithful. The Lord will have a new name, the people will speak a pure, new language; and His saints will be identified with His Son’s new name written in eternal glorified bodies. Hear carefully what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” Revelation 3:14.
He uses one of His most magnificent names as He begins His last letter to the last of the church age. Not only is this the last of the church age, it is the most dire warning to the church world from then until now. He says this letter is from “The Amen.” I’m always amazed at the doomsayers when they predict the world’s ideas of destroying His earth. “The Amen” is going to take care of that, and He will have the last word. He is also named “the faithful and true witness.” The names of our Lord used in each address to the churches serve to strengthen the commendations and condemnations. The truths He speaks can be rejected only by absolute judgment. Every word will be fulfilled and every correction will be obeyed or serve as witness in the coming judgment. These great teachings are not suggestions.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:15-18
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
This church is in dark trouble. The meaning of her name is an expression of her character. The “church of mob rule,” is a period in which every man is a law unto himself and where the Holy Scripture has been reduced to a cafeteria diet. This “pick and choose” treatment of the Word of God is death to the soul in every case. This church period is the last of the church age and shows that the prophetic words of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew, has indeed occurred, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12. The fire of the Holy Ghost is gone, and the church world is spiritually dead, although it numbers a multitude.
His judgment of this condition is severe. Our present church life is a confused dichotomy. We have the experimental element where doctrine is unimportant and the systems of theology where experience is rejected. Both extremes are contrary to Scripture. A lukewarm church life can be attributed to both extremes. The best theology is death without experiencing the life of the Holy Spirit. The experience of religion without the guideline of great truths is also death. These two mindsets have plagued the church in every period of church history, but have certainly reached a zenith in this last church. He condemns the coldness of such church life and rejects it from the body life of His own Rapture-ready Bride. He said, “I will spue them out of my mouth.”
Such churches are normally the richest of all. All worldly church members normally want a church free of strong guidelines, where self can reign unchecked. It does not matter much in what extreme direction a church may go as long as there are no restraints on self. Any system of religion will grow, prosper, and become great if the cross life is absent. The one area that unconverted or unsanctified flesh cannot handle is the separated life of Bible righteousness. This Laodicean church has made the cross life the worst enemy and has championed unsanctified living. The Lord’s words make that very plain, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” Spiritual death has robbed this church of life because the spiritual is only present in death to self.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:19-22
His love is the love of a Father that cannot bear to offer the ones He loves an unmanly devotion, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” Who could ever want a love that allows the one loved to destroy themselves? But, His love was not a distant love but a love of one standing at the door. The Lord is ready to so consume with love that His rebuke is nothing less than joy. His love walks in the midst of His church offering His great promises.
This closing statement to the church shows the perfect unity of the seven letters. All of His overcomers will be judged individually and rewarded individually, but there is still a unity in His promises. This last inclusiveness is to all overcomers. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Every identification of the Lord to His church recalls a portion of His revelation in chapter one and every promise is part and lot of the total of all seven. Also, in each ending to all seven churches, He states, “what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Notice, He says “churches” in the plural. They are separate and different but all part of one church. It’s important that no correction is rejected. All of each letter is a final warning and promise. The Rapture is at hand and there will be no additional warning before He appears.