Nevertheless, what is in the pages of the Bible has much to commend it, even the book of Revelation, when it comes to Western Church history.
The book of Revelation has a list of seven churches that are believed to have historical significance. The reason for this is the history of the Western Church appears to have followed the subsequent church ages outlined by the description of the seven churches.
Here are two different versions regarding the church age dates from a historical interpretation of the churches mentioned in the book of Revelation, chapters two and three:
Seven Stages of Church History
Church Age Dates and Verses
Ephesus (The Apostolic Age) A.D. 30-100 (Rev. 2:1-7)
Smyrna (The Roman Persecution Age) A.D. 100 - 313 (Rev. 2:8-11)
Pergamum (The Age of Constantine) A.D. 313-600 (Rev. 2:12-17)
Thyatira (The Dark Ages) A.D. 600-1517 (Rev. 2:18-29)
Sardis (The Age of Reformation) A.D. 1517-1648 (Rev. 3:1-6)
Philadelphia (The Age of Missions) A.D. 1648-1900 (Rev. 3:7-13)
Laodicea (The Age of Apostasy) A.D. 1900-today (Rev. 3:14-22)
Ephesus A.D. 53 - 170As can be seen from these two different accounts, the periods for the various ages are not too far apart; the exception being the end of the first age and the beginning of the second age, which differs by 70 years. The reason for this is one is based on the belief that Apostle John was the last apostle to die (A.D. 100) and the other believes that Iraneus (born A.D. 130) was the messenger for the second age and didn't make an impact until A.D. 170. Actually, because there is a reference to ten days of persecution, some believe that the "Ten Great Persecutions" under the Roman Emperors, beginning with Nero, A.D. 64, and ending with Diocletian in A.D. 310 is the historical age for the church of Smyrna.
Symrna A.D. 170 - 312
Pergamos A.D. 312 - 606
Thyatira A.D. 606 - 1520
Sardis A.D. 1520 - 1750
Philadelphia A.D. 1750 - 1906
Laodicea A.D. 1906 - today
Nevertheless, we see a reasonable historical correlation with has happened in the West concerning Christendom and the account of the various churches in the book of Revelation. Because of this, the heuristic saying, "If the shoe fits, wear it," appears to have some merit in applying a chronology of eras to the seven churches of Revelation, and this has much to do with the Roman Catholic Church.
The history of Israel appears to have been duplicated in some respects as the Church fell away from the Apostle's teachings. Those who identified with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ become second and third generation Christians and, as so often is the case with subsequent generations, the conviction that existed in the forefathers becomes diluted and dissipates as other influences are accommodated as fashionable.
The Ephesus Church Age is one where people were beginning to lose their first love. The generation that came after those who heard the testimonies of the disciples, who had been witnesses of Lord Jesus Christ and what happened on the day of Pentecost, did not possess the same zeal. The church was losing its zeal and was called to repent. Persecution was known to the church but nothing like what happened under Diocletian during the next era. The Nicolaitan (rule over the laity ) spirit that inspired the separation of the clergy from the laity was starting to take root.
The Smyrna Church Age encountered persecution throughout going from bad to worse to an attempt at annihilation of all Christians by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. When people are persecuted the realities of their convictions are tested. Persecution tends to consolidate people’s views. In the case of the Christians, they were being fed to the lions and paying with their lives. This caused greater testimony and more people were becoming Christians within the Roman Empire when they saw that those who were being killed refused to denounce their conviction and joyfully declared Jesus as Lord at their death. No make-believe Christians existed. If you were alive in those days, you either believed in Lord Jesus Christ's ability to overcome death and died, or you cowered and demonstrated your lack of moral conviction.
The Pergamum Church Age is when the doctrines of Satan began to infiltrate the congregations that called upon Lord Jesus Christ. The doctrines of man are the doctrines of Satan. This is what Jesus said to Peter regarding Satan.
- But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” (Matthew 16:23)
Priscillian of Spain (A.D. 340-386) was executed because he departed from Roman Catholic teachings and taught:
- that the Scriptures were the sole rule for Christian doctrine and behavior (rather than tradition)
- Christians must live a holy life, the outflow of personal communion with Christ.
- This communion is entered through personal, living faith (not sacraments).
- No spiritual distinction between clergy and laity. All Christians have the Spirit and may minister in the Word.
The Church of Thyatira reigned from around A.D. 600 to 1500. The Roman Catholic Church went into decadence and the teachings of Babylonian mystery schools and the Mother and Son cult became deeply rooted. This is indicated by the reference to Jezebel and the deep things of Satan, which include the exaltation of man, money and Luciferian worship. Immorality became rife. Against the Bible's prohibition, celibacy was introduced for clergy. The decadence of the church brought about the dark ages. Islam was born as this age began and spread across North Africa into Spain, through the Middle East and into Eastern Europe, subjugating much of Christendom. To those who had not been corrupted by the deep things of Satan, merely holding fast to the little they knew was sufficient for them during this time, because the darkness was so great. Essentially, the organized Church had been forsaken by Lord Jesus Christ and new light would have to be raised up. This organized church will go into the tribulation that is to come up at the end of the age. The Apostle Paul declared in the first century: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (2 Timothy 4:1-3) The Roman Catholic Church departed from the faith and takes the name of Christ in vain.
The Church of Sardis is dead. This Church is told to “Awake, and strengthen what remains [as you are] on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.” Even those who are awakened in this age have to repent. The reformers Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Melanchthon are said to have had a name for being alive, but they were committing murder on a wholesale scale contrary to the very Scriptures that they claimed are the only rule of faith. Like the Jews of old, they had doctrines but lacked the reality of the experience that comes with being truly born again. There was much disagreement among the reformers over what may seem menial issues today. Justification by faith was rejected by Calvin in preference for the teaching of double predestination—the pernicious doctrine that those chosen for eternal life were predetermined before the foundation of the world, while the rest are to be tormented forever. The Roman Catholic Church continued on its murderous ways, and where possible, executed all who rejected its devilish doctrines—the doctrines of demons and deceitful spirits.
The Church of Philadelphia is the other church along with Sardis that is not ordered to repent. Pietism came out of Lutherism’s justification by faith. Pietism introduced the need for a personal experience of Lord Jesus Christ through being born of the Spirit rather than adhering to a doctrine. The Moravians came out of the Pietist movement. They in turn influenced John Wesley, who was the most influential person in the great awakening, although God was moving through other great preachers. The great preachers Whitfield and Spurgeon relied heavily upon the writings of the Pietist Matthew Henry. The lawyer Charles Finney dissatisfied with the Calvinist doctrines sought God in earnest prayer and encountered an experience with Lord Jesus Christ that changed his life, just as Wesley’s life was changed. Revivalism became a major part of the United States, the British Isles, and swept through the British Empire. Missionary societies were spawned from this era that has seen the Bible and its message of personal salvation taken throughout the globe. This church is told that it has an open door. Jesus said to the church of this era, “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
The Laodicean Church Age is today. Many believe it began around A.D. 1900. Maybe it began after WWI with the roaring twenties. It certainly does not appear to have applied to the Communist countries. Nevertheless, it certainly applies to the West that was affected by the revivals that took place and has been growing in influence ever since, to incorporate the materialism that pervades much of the globe today. This is the church that is materially rich and spiritually poor. This is the Church to which Lord Jesus Christ says that those who open the doors of their hearts to Him, and overcome the world, will reign with Him. After this the book of Revelation speaks about what must happen next in respect to the end times.
The great harlot that sits on the seven hills is referred to as the great harlot in line with her Babylonian worship of the mother-child cult and Satanic worship. Evidently, this is believed to be a reference to Rome that sits on seven hills and the Papacy, that has drunk the blood of the saints. Accordingly to the chronology of Revelation 3 and 4, the Roman Catholic Church was finished with during the Dark Ages.
Muhammad became a religious leader at the same time the West went into what is known as the dark ages beginning of the Dark Ages. A.D. 609–632 as religious leader. Islam will merge with Rome and a Global Government, Religion and Economy will be enforced. This is being instigated today.
The reason why Roman Catholicism has been so unlike what Lord Jesus desires of those who seek Him: it has become a facade to hide Satanic Worship and the doctrines of demons (2 Timothy 4:1-3). There are individuals within Roman Catholicism, who in their ignorance will be saved—but only just saved—because they genuinely believe in Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are pedophiles and are in bed with Roman Catholicism's false teachings of Mariolatry and hagiolatry and other evils will reap their just recompense, for they have rejected the truth that there is only one mediator between man and God, Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
Only The Truth Will Set You Free So You Can Possess and Enjoy Life