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Revelation, Chapter 2: The Smyrnean Age

William Branham

William Branham

William Branham Evangelistic Association

31 min read

“And unto the angel of the church of Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, Which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11

Introduction

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

In order to refresh your minds I want to point out again how we arrive at finding the names of the messengers to the various ages. God in His sovereign will has seen to it that the history of the New Testament church was not lost, even as He saw to it that the history of Israel would not be lost by placing it in the Bible and corroborating it today from multitudes of scrolls, earthen vessels and other artifacts that archaeologists have discovered and interpreted. We actually have a running commentary of Bible history from the first page up to now. Thus by reading history we can find out what man or men in the various ages were the closest to God’s original pattern, the Apostle Paul. The ones that God used to bring His people back to the Word of Truth would be the ones to examine. Then out of those there would be one for every age who would stand out the clearest as the closest in Word pattern and power. That one would be the messenger. The ages also are found by a study of history.

The Messenger

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Using our God given rule of choosing the messenger for each age, we unhesitatingly declare that Irenaeus was exalted by the Lord to that position. He was the disciple of that great saint and warrior of faith, Polycarp. And it is no doubt as he sat at the feet of that great man he learned the Christian graces that flowed from his consecrated life, for Polycarp was one of the truly illustrious saints of all ages when viewed in the light of a blameless life. You will remember from your own reading that Polycarp was martyred.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

With Irenaeus this was not so. He was militant against any form of organization. Also, his life history, wherein he served the Lord, was one of much manifestation in the Holy Spirit; and the Word was taught with unusual clarity and conformity to its original precepts. His churches in France were known to have the gifts of the Spirit among them, for the saints spoke in tongues, prophesied, raised the dead, and healed the sick by the prayer of faith. He saw the danger of any kind of organized brotherhood among the elders, pastors, etcetera. He stood solidly for a unified, Spirit-filled, gift-manifesting local church. And God honored him for the power of God manifested among the saints.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

He was also clear on his understanding of the Godhead. And since he was the disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was the disciple of Saint John, we can know for sure he had as perfect teaching as is possible on this subject. In Volume 1, page 412 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, we have this statement by him on the Godhead. “All the other expressions, likewise, bring out the title of one, and the same being, the Lord of Power, the Lord, the Father of All, God Almighty, Most High, Creator, Maker, and such like, these are not the names and the titles of a succession of different beings, but of one and the same.” He pointed out clearly that these are but titles as is Rose of Sharon, Bright and Morning Star, Fairest of Ten Thousand, etcetera. Neither is there but ONE God. His Name is Lord Jesus Christ.

Smyrna

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

The city of Smyrna was a little north of Ephesus at the mouth of the Smyrna Gulf. Because of its very fine harbor it was a commercial center renowned for its exports. It was also distinguished for its schools of rhetoric, philosophy, medicine, sciences, and fine buildings. Many Jews lived there, and they were bitterly opposed to Christianity, even more so than were the Romans. In fact, Polycarp, the first bishop at Smyrna was martyred by the Jews and it is said that the Jews desecrated their holy day (Saturday) to carry the wood that would make his funeral pyre.

The word Smyrna means, “bitter,” being derived from the word, myrrh. Myrrh was used in embalming the dead. Thus we have a two-fold significance found in the name of this age. It was a bitter age filled with death. The two vines within the framework of the church were drifting further apart with an increased bitterness toward the true vine on the part of the false. Death was not only the seed of the false vine but even in the true vine there was a creeping paralysis and impotence because they had already drifted from the unadulterated truth of the first few years after Pentecost; and no true believer is any stronger and spiritually healthy and alive than his knowledge of and adherence to the pure Word of God, as seen by multitudes of examples in the Old Testament. Organization was growing apace, confirming and augmenting the death of the membership, for Holy Ghost leadership was deposed and the Word was replaced by creeds, dogmas and man-made ritual.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

In this city there were two famous temples. One was the temple erected to the worship of Zeus, and the other was erected to Cybele. And between these two temples was found the most beautiful road of ancient times, called the Golden Street. To me this depicts a further inroad of paganism that had already started in the first age, but was known to exist only at Rome. The joining of the two temples of a god and goddess is the seed of Maryolatry wherein Mary is called the mother of God and receives honor and titles and powers giving her a co-equality with Jesus Christ. The Golden Street that joins them is a picture of the greed that caused the Nicolaitane organizers to join state and church because they knew the wealth and power it offered them. As the Ephesian Age was but the seed bed for the tragic Pergamean Age that was yet in the future, this Smyrnaean Age was the rain, the sun, and the nourishment that ensured the vile corruption that would confirm the church in idolatry which is spiritual fornication, from which she would never rise. Death was permeating her root to branch and they that partook of her, partook of bitterness and death.

This age lasted from 170 to 312 A.D.

The Salutation

Revelation 2:8, “These things saith the First and the Last, Which was dead, and is alive."

“The First and the Last, Which was dead, and is alive.” Now these are not the words of a man. A mere man (could he speak from the grave) would say, “I am the first and the last, which was alive and is dead.” The first thing that happens to a man is that he is born (is alive) and the last thing that happens is that he dies. So this is not a man speaking. This is Deity. Man (Adam) took life and turned it into death. But this MAN (Jesus) took death and turned it into life. Adam took innocence and turned it into guilt. This One took guilt and turned it into righteousness. Adam took a paradise and turned it into a waste howling wilderness; but this One is coming back to turn an earth rocking and reeling with destruction into another Eden.

Adam took a life of fellowship and joy with God and turned it into a desert of spiritual darkness that brought forth all sin, moral decay, pain, suffering, delusion, and corruption that wars within the souls of men. But this One, from all the tragic death and degradation that filled mankind, brought forth a life of righteousness and beauty, so that as sin once reigned unto death, even so might men now reign in righteousness by One, Christ Jesus; and not as the offence was, though terrible indeed it was, but now much more is His gift unto eternal life.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

I wonder if you noted the salutation to the first age and then noted the one to this age. Just put them together. “These things saith He that holds the seven stars in His right hand, and walks in the midst of the churches.” “These things saith the First and the Last, Which was dead, and is alive.” This is one and the same person. And He is letting us know that the church is His. As the seed of the fruit is in the midst of the fruit, so is He, the Royal Seed, in the midst of the church. As the seed alone has life in it, so is He the author of life to the church. His walking signifies His untiring care of it. He is the Chief Shepherd watching over His own. That is His right, for He bought that church with His own blood. That blood is the blood of God. The One Who owns that church is God, very God. He is the “First and the Last.” That title spells eternity. He was dead and is alive. He paid the price so He has sole ownership of the temple of God. He rules it. He is worshipped in it. He resents anyone taking over His Lordship and authority. No doubt the reason He introduces Himself to each age as Deity is to warn and comfort the people. He warns the false vine, and He comforts the true vine. This is the ONE TRUE ALMIGHTY GOD. Hear Him and live.

Conditions of the Age

Revelation 2:9, “I know thy works, and thy tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

The key to this age is most evidently tribulation. If there was tribulation in the first age, there is now predicted an intensified tribulation throughout the second age. There is no doubt but what the following words of Paul applied to the mass of Christians wherever they were in the world and in every age. Hebrews 10:32-38, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He That shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

The mere association of kindhearted people with the true believer might well bring death in return for their kindness.

Now the Lord God Almighty says, “I KNOW.” There He is walking in the midst of His people. There He is, the Chief Shepherd of the flock. But does He hold back the persecution? Does He stem the tribulation? No, He does not. He simply says, “I KNOW your tribulation — I am not at all unmindful of your suffering.” What a stumbling block this is to so many people. Like Israel they wonder if God really loves them. How can God be just and loving if He stands by and watches His people suffer? That is what they asked in Malachi 1:1-3, “The burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast Thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” You see, they could not figure out God’s love. They thought that love meant no suffering. They thought that love meant a baby with parental care. But God said that His love was “elective” love. The proof of His love is ELECTION — that no matter what happened, His love was proven truly by the fact they were chosen unto salvation (because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth). He may commit you to death as He did Paul. He may commit you to suffering as He did Job. That is His prerogative. He is sovereign. But it is all with a purpose. If He did not have a purpose, then He would be the author of frustration and not of peace. His purpose is that after we have suffered awhile we would be made perfect, be established, strengthened and settled. As Job said, “He puts strength in us.” (Job 23:6b.) You see He, Himself, suffered. He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. He was actually made perfect by the things that He suffered. Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” In plain language, the very character of Jesus was perfected by suffering. And according to Paul He has left His church a measure of suffering that they, too, by their faith in God while suffering for Him, would come to a place of perfection. Why did He want this? James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

The cloudy skies and storms of life are no signs of God’s disapproval. Neither are bright skies and still waters signs of His love and approval. His approval of any of us is only IN THE BELOVED. His love is elective which He had for us before the foundation of the world. Does He love us? Ah yes. But how shall we know? We shall know because He SAID SO, and manifested that He did love us for He brought us to Himself and gave us of His Spirit, placing us as sons. And how shall I prove my love to Him? By believing what He said, and by conducting myself with joy amidst the trials that He in His wisdom allows to come to pass.

“I know thy poverty (but thou are rich).” There it is again. See Him walking up-and-down in the midst of His Church. Like a father He is looking down upon His family. He is the Head of His household. He is the provider. He is the protector. Yet He looks on at their poverty. Oh, how the untutored believer stumbles at this. How can God bear to look upon His own in a time of need and not just stop it all — just give in and lavish everything material upon them?

Here is where you have to believe again in the love, and goodness and wisdom of God. This, too, is needful. Remember He admonished, “Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall put on. Your Father knoweth the things ye have need of. He Who clothes the lily and feeds the sparrow shall do much more for you. These physical things are not the true basic necessities of your life, for a man’s life consisteth not of the things he possesses. But rather seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all material necessities will be added unto you.” The people of God are not material minded. They are Christ-minded. They do not seek the treasures that are below; they seek those above. It is absolutely true, the majority of Christians are NOT wealthy. Rather they are on the poor side. It was so in Jesus' day. It was true in Paul’s day and it should be true today. Oh, it is not too true today for the Laodicean Age is one of vast wealth where often the criterion of spirituality is an abundance of earthly goods. My, how rich the church is in goods. But how poor in Spirit. “Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is NOT meat and drink.” It is not material. It is WITHIN us. A rich man is rich in God, not in worldly things.

“Oh,” cries the Spirit, “I see your poverty. I see your need. You haven’t very much, if anything, to boast of. What you did have has been taken from you. You gladly gave up your possessions in exchange for eternal ones. You are laughed at. You are scorned. You don’t have material resources to fall back on. But you are rich in spite of it all. Your security lies in Him Who is your shield and exceeding great reward. Your kingdom is yet to come. But it will come. And it will be an everlasting one. Yes, I am mindful of your trials and woes. I know how hard it is to get along. But I will remember all this when I return to claim you as My own, and then I will reward you.”

The Synagogue of Satan

Revelation 2:9b, “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Here is a verse that will bear considerable thought, not only because it is most peculiar in its contents, but also it is virtually repeated in an age that is over a thousand years later.

Revelation 2:9, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” To begin with, the word, Jews, does not describe the religion of the Jewish people. It refers only to the people of Judah and has the same precise meaning if I were to say I am Irish born. These people were saying that they were actually Jews, real Jews by birth. They were liars. They were not Jews by birth and they weren’t Jews by religion.

If all this is true, what were they? They were a deceived people who were already part of the church. They belonged to the false vine.

They were not of the true church, but of the false church because God said “they were the synagogue of Satan.” Now the word for synagogue is not the same word we use for church. In the Bible, church means, “the called-out ones,” or the “summoned ones.” The Psalmist said about these elect people, “Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts.” Psalms 65:4. But the meaning of synagogue is “assembly or gathering.”

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Now why do we have a people mixed in the framework of the church and calling themselves Jews? The reason is this: Since they were liars they could make any claim they wished. They could say what they wanted as though it were a fact and then stick to it. And in this case they could be lying with a very powerful thought in mind. Was it not so that the early church was almost if not entirely composed of Jews, making them the original members of His body? The twelve apostles were Jews, and the later apostles were either Jews or proselytes. Thus for men to swear they were Jews would give them a preeminence and a claim to originality. Tell a lie. Stick to it. Never mind fact or history. Just say it and keep saying it to the people, and soon the people will receive it.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Consider the thought of blasphemy. These of Satan’s synagogue were not blaspheming God in this instance (though that goes without saying) but they were blaspheming the true church. Certainly. As Cain persecuted and killed Abel because he (Cain) was of that wicked one, and as the dead formal Judaic followers (Jesus said they were of their father, the devil) tried to destroy the Christians in the first few years of the first age, now this same group (the false vine) is even more strongly attempting to destroy the true believer in the second age. That antichrist spirit is growing.

The group that inched its way ever so slowly into the church by its DEEDS (Nicolaitanism) no longer fears exposure but is openly organized in a group of its own assembling and is coming against the true church in undisguised hostility.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

They had a solid hierarchy and a solid organization, and a complete departure from the Word. This then, is Satan’s synagogue, full of blasphemy, in which were already the seeds of the doctrine of Nicolaitanism, and which would shortly be the actual seat or power of Satanic religion. And this is exactly right for Revelation 2:9b does NOT say these people are OF Satan’s synagogue but it says they ARE SATAN’S SYNAGOGUE.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

And when that Satan-centered group was formed, it began to hate and to fight the true believers, insisting that they (the aliens) were the church of God.

Notice how organization breeds hatred. It destroys fellowship. It makes bitterness. That is what myrrh means. This is what Smyrna was full of. Bitterness. A root of bitterness defiles many. So more and more defilement was coming in. Every age would feel its scars.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

“I know thy poverty.” Did you notice that their poverty is linked up with the synagogue of Satan in that same verse? Yes, it is the rich powerful organization that has the wealth and always pushes out the little people that serve God. When the Spirit of God moves in the hearts of men, who is it that leaves the buildings and property? The little flock always loses out to the big organization. And where do the people then go? They worship in homes, old store buildings, and basements, just as they did when they went to the catacombs.

These people were poor in this world’s goods. Certainly. But they were rich in Spirit.

“I know their blasphemy.” Now it isn’t the thought here that these liars are blaspheming God, though that goes without saying. But they are blaspheming the true church. It is always thus. The Jews of Jerusalem blasphemed the church at the beginning. The Gentile polytheists did likewise. If anyone is going to be evil-spoken of, it will always be the true seed. In Nero’s day the Christians were blamed for every calamity — even for the burning of Rome. In communist countries the little flock is always the first to be exterminated though actually insignificant in size. Though the Christians are fine loyal people, who do only good, they will always be persecuted to the end that they might be physically destroyed.

Ten Years of Tribulation

Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Every time the Lord uses those words, “Fear not,” there is an engagement at hand which will involve great danger and suffering and deprivation. Now He does not say in a blunt, curt manner, “Tribulation is coming.” That would frighten one. But like a mother who is about to turn out the light says gently to her child lest he be frightened, “Now don’t be afraid, for the light will go out and it will be dark. But remember that I am here with you.” So He says, “Don’t be afraid of man or what he can do to you. I am with you, and My grace is sufficient for you. When you pass through the waters, they will not overflow you. Not even in death are you defeated. You are more than conquerors.”

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Now notice what He says, “the devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried.” The Jews were doing that right then. The pagan priests were doing that right then. The governors who tried to curry favor with the public because the people liked the arena, hurled the Christians by the thousands to their death, destroying them by lions and gladiators. What has the devil to do with this? Why blame him? Ah, yes, but it is the devil’s hatred behind it all. He is behind it all for he hates God. What God has set His heart on, Satan is bound to try to destroy. But watch. Here is some illumination. If Satan is behind the Jews who are hailing the Christians into court, then the Jews are not of God’s religion but the devil’s. Their gathering is also of the synagogue of Satan. And if the Roman Catholic Church killed the multitudes of believers in the Dark Ages, yes and in all ages, then they are of the devil and belong to Satan, also.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

“They shall be cast into prison.” Yes, they are hailed into court and falsely accused and tried and imprisoned. And of course it is all done in the name of religion and decency and outraged innocency. All done for a good cause. That makes me think of the Supreme Court’s ruling on prayer and Bible reading in the schools. Who is behind it? Satan is. It is just another angry outburst against God.

“Thou shalt have tribulation ten days.” Here is a prophecy. And with it is a means of determining the life span of the Smyrnaean Age. Diocletian, the cruelest of all emperors, launched a terror campaign against the saints of God, that except for the mercy of God would have wiped out all believers. It was the bloodiest in history and lasted ten years (the ten days of Revelation 2:10b) from 302 to 312.

“Be thou faithful unto death.” He does not say be faithful until death, but unto death. You may have to seal your testimony with your blood. Thousands, yea millions, have died during all the ages. They died in the faith. Like Antipas, the faithful martyr, they held not their lives dear unto death. Often we think that it would be almost impossible to be a martyr. But dare to recall that the faith we daily use to triumph in Christ Jesus is the same faith that upholds the Polycarps and all martyrs. The supreme faith will give supreme grace for the supreme hour. Blessed be God forever!

“And I will give thee a crown of life.” Since not even a cup of cold water given in the Name of the Lord fails to receive a reward, how great shall be the reward to him who gives his life as a martyr for the Name of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps we can get a small idea if we compare this crown with the crown won in a race. In I Corinthians 9:24, Paul says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” A crown given to the winner of the Olympic race was a garland of olive branches. But the crown spoken of here in the Revelation, given to a martyr, is the crown of royalty. Jesus calls it the crown of life. The one crown is for those who have striven; the other is for those who have given. Both crowns are incorruptible. They will not perish. The winners of the worldly race of life will soon lose the joy of the plaudits of the world. Their glory will fail. But those who give their lives for God, either by daily striving or shedding their blood as the crowning sacrifice of their lives will be given the crown of life.

All too little time is spent on laboring for the eternal rewards of God. The recompense of God is too lightly esteemed. If we believe in the reality of the resurrection of the body, and an eternal kingdom of substance, then we ought to lay up in heaven those good treasures that are available to the faithful saints.

The Reward for Overcoming

Revelation 2:11, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Now, once again the Spirit is talking to all the ages. This message is to comfort us today even as it has comforted our brethren of all the other ages. And He says to us that the second death will not hurt us.

We all know that the second death is the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Of course that means all those who were therein, were cast into the lake of fire. Now then, I want to bring out something here for you. It no doubt will cause people to comment on my strange doctrine. But I stand here on the authority of the Word of God and deny that the unbeliever goes to an eternal hell and burns there eternally. In the first place, hell, or the lake of fire, or whatever you want to call it is not eternal. How can it be if it had a beginning? In Matthew 25:41, it says that “everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now if it was prepared, then it wasn’t without a beginning. If it had a beginning then it can’t be eternal. Of course you might stumble over the idea of the word “everlasting.” But that word means “from the ages to the ages” and has different meanings attached to it. In I Samuel 3:13-14, God told Samuel that He was going to judge the house of Eli forever, and that they would offer no more sacrifices “forever” as His priests. And in I Kings 2:27, Solomon thrust out the last descendants of Eli from the priesthood. That was four generations or so later. Now you can see that “everlasting” does not compare with what is “eternal,” or that which had no beginning or end. Here in this case the word everlasting means “to the vanishing point.” That is what happened. They vanished.

Look at the word, “destruction” over in II Thessalonians 1:9, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.” In the Greek, “destruction” positively means annihilation. And the word, “destruction,” does NOT mean destroying. Now “destroying” means something going on and on in decay. So what can everlasting annihilation mean? It doesn’t mean to keep on annihilating, or that would make the word “destroying,” instead of “destruction.” It means to destroy to the ending point. End it.

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Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Now don’t let anyone say that I don’t believe in a lake of fire and in punishment. I do. I don’t know how long it will last, but it will eventually be removed. In Revelation 21:8, it says that those sinners mentioned will have their part in the lake of fire. But the true interpretation of the word is not “part” but it is “time.” See, there you have it.

The Holy Spirit in Every Age

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

Revelation 2:11, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” There is not one church age where this verse is not mentioned. Every single age has the same admonition to the people of every age. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.” But it is absolutely impossible for all men to hear what the Spirit says to the different ages.

I Corinthians 2:6-16, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Matthew 13:13-16, “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

John 8:42-44, “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My Word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” It is most evident from these Scriptures that no man of himself can hear God. That ability has to be given him of God.

Matthew 16:17, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father Which is in heaven.”

Putting these verses together we see that there is only one group of people, and that a very special group of people who are able to hear what the Spirit says in each age. It is one special group that receives the revelation for each age. That group is of God, because the group that cannot hear is not of God. (John 8:42-44.) The group that can and does hear what the Spirit is saying and receives the revelation thereof is that group described in I Corinthians 2:6-16. They are the ones who have the Spirit of God. They are the ones that are born of God. They are baptized into the body of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Spirit. They are baptized with the Holy Ghost.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

In every age, (and every age is the age of the Holy Ghost for the true believer) — I say, in every age the evidence was the same. Those who had the Spirit, the Teacher, heard the Word, and that Spirit in them took the Word and taught it (revealed it) to them; and they were of the group that heard the messenger and his message and took it and lived it.

An Exposition of The Seven Church Ages

Chapter 4, The Smyrnean Church Age

What is the Baptism with the Holy Ghost? It is the Spirit Baptizing you into the body of Christ. It is the new birth. It is the Spirit of God coming in and filling you after you have repented, (having heard His Word) and been baptized in water as an answer of a good conscience toward God.