Christian Churches of God
The Lampstand in the
(Edition 1.0 20180414-20180414)
This text explains the eras of the church and the function of the lampstand as the power of God in the Church of God over the seven eras.
The Lampstand in the Last Days
The texts in Revelation are quite clear that there are seven golden lampstands among the Churches of God. The texts are also quite clear that those lampstands can be removed for sin and poor performance and that they are only applied to the true organised and performing Churches of God. It is further clear that there are some churches that not only do not perform satisfactorily in some aspects but two of those churches are removed as churches from the Body of Christ by God Himself.
This text follows on in explanation of an element arising from the churches in Revelation as explained during the eras over the 2000 years to the Last Jubilee. We see that God works with one element at a time and responsibility is not divided even though elements are extant in diverse places and remnants do in fact occur.
This text takes the texts in Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) in more depth and should also be read in conjunction with the paper the Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283).
We saw that the ministry of John the Baptist preceded Christ and although Christ’s disciples were baptising when John’s disciples were also baptising at Aenon near Salim; and even though Christ had been baptised and selected his disciples to be apostles, he did not commence to preach in his ministry until John had been imprisoned and was no longer able to complete a work. This was also so with Moses and then the judges and their rule and also that of the kings.
(See the papers Samson and the Judges (No. 073); Rule of the Kings Part I: Saul (No. 282A); Rule of the Kings Part II (No. 282B) and Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C).)
Also the Churches of God have always taught through history that the church eras were sequential and that there was only one lampstand operating with the authority of God at any one time; even if that lampstand was to be transferred within any one era. Some eras were told that the lampstand would be removed and history shows us that was indeed the case.
Some eras that bore the brunt of the persecutions were given reprieve. We see that the Thyatiran era who bore the brunt of the European persecution up until the Reformation were told that in the Last Days no further burden would be placed upon them. They are given no task in the Last Days and the work of God is handed to the Philadelphian system in its entirety.
Sardis and Laodicea were dead and lukewarm and they are spewed out of the Mouth of God. What they taught was in fact incorrect or worse, namely complete heresy as we shall see.
The first era we see is the Church at Ephesus or the Ephesian era. It lasted from 30 CE to the death of the apostle John in the beginning of the Second century.
1"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: `The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2"`I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; 3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicola'itans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'
From the wording of the text in verse 7 it is clear that the Spirit is speaking to all the churches and thus there are elements of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the churches in every era (cf. also The Nicolaitans (No. 202))
There is no longer a functioning church at Ephesus and it has long ceased to work and there is no lampstand from that era functional. It was however the centre of the church among the nations from which the seed of the word was spread through the nations.
Satan did indeed create false apostles and duplicated a false church over the Middle East and from Rome.
At the death of John the training of the elect moved to Smyrna under Polycarp and then Polycrates. It was indeed a bitter era.
The gospel spread from there throughout the Middle East and also from Africa and from there moved into China from India through the Abyssinian Archbishop Mueses from the end of the Fourth century (cf. General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
8"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: `The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9"`I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.'
The ten days of the persecution was actually ten years under the emperor Diocletian. It was three years in the West but ten years in the East. There was also the 9th imperial persecution under Aurelian.
In the Koran at Surah 18 the cave dwellers are said to have tarried in the cave for 309 years under persecution (S18:25). This refers to the period over the days of the church from 27 CE and even with the Messiah from the flight into Egypt in 6/5 BCE) and the persecution up until Diocletian (ca 303 onwards to 313).
The ten days was to signal the final persecution before the Edict of Toleration at Milan under the emperor Constantine.
This church era was to continue in the West until the Synod of Whitby in 664 CE saw the end of the dominance of the Sabbath-keeping churches in Britain when they were driven underground and the supremacy of the Trinitarian system in the West. Both the Celtic church which had been taught by Aristobulus and the Anglo-Saxons which had been exposed to Peter in Parthia and the Black Sea area were part of this system. However, the Angles and most of the Saxons had remained pagan, even though they kept the calendar of the Middle East with the New Year at the ancient solstice on 25 March until 1752. The Angles and then the Saxons became Roman Catholic under Augustine of Canterbury when he was sent by Rome in 597 CE at the request of Ethelbert King of the Angles at the request of his French wife.
The lampstand passed to Pergamos from Smyrna. The Smyrna era has passed the faith based on the publication of the works of the apostles and the churches established in the Middle East from Abyssinia to Scythia.
The reference to Satan’s throne is to the Babylonian system and they had dwelt there through the first two eras. However from the Battle of Actium the Romans took power and assumed the mantle of Babylon as foretold by God through Daniel in Chapter 2.
The two major powers of the church in the Middle East were the Paulicians and then the church at Mecca.
The Church in Arabia began to grow when a Jewish family that had been long converted to Sabbatarian Christianity had one of their women marry a young man, Qasim Ibn Abdullah ibn Muttalib. The uncle of the woman taught him to read and taught him the faith by 608 CE and he was called to the work of God. The church expanded to become Islam but only lasted under the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs and was then overtaken by the pagans masquerading as Imams and warriors of the “faith” (cf. Introduction to the Commentary on the Koran (Q001)).
The church was persecuted at Mecca and in 613 the church fled to Abyssinia and sought refuge with the Church of God there and they were granted sanctuary by the Negus or king there (see Commentary on the Koran Surah 19 Maryam (Q019)).
The failure of Islam as a Church of God saw the lampstand developed by the Paulicians and they expanded into Europe. The Byzantine Trinitarians were the problem to both the Paulicians and to the churches in Arabia.
The Pergamos era was warlike. It saw that it had to be to survive but that was its very undoing. From the Eight century the focus of the work moved into Europe under the church of the Thyatirans. They moved into The West through Bulgaria and the remnant of Smyrna in the West in Spain and France began to spread the faith.
See also the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122).
12"And to the angel of the church in Per'gamum write: `The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. 13"`I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of An'tipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice immorality. 15So you also have some who hold the teaching of the Nicola'itans. 16Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.'
The groups from Babylon to Mecca were devotees of Baal and the Sun system and its various idols and deities which infiltrated and ultimately took over the faith. It will ultimately destroy the Middle East, North African and European people. The worship of idols is now endemic all over its system and they worship the sun cults and the Mother goddess system. They will soon be destroyed and brought to repentance by war itself.
18"And to the angel of the church in Thyati'ra write: `The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19"`I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jez'ebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; 23and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. 24But to the rest of you in Thyati'ra, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; 25only hold fast what you have, until I come. 26He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, 27and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
Here Thyatira is left a remnant but it is given no further burden and is simply told to hold fast what it has until the return of Messiah. It clearly has no task or lampstand with which to advance the faith as it suffered enough and proved itself earlier. It is centred on the European area and any claiming allegiance or origin from it are part of the last remnant. Those in the New World do not have origin or authority from it as we see from the text. Those who wish to attain the First Resurrection are to join Philadelphia to accomplish the work of God in the Last Days.
After the Reformation the rot set in. Thyatira expanded so far that the Roman Church had to send its priests in to the expanding Protestant system. The term came from Pro Teste meaning for the Testament or faith and was not related to the sense of protesting in division from Rome. Luther and the Calvinists were forced to create the Reformation to save the Trinitarian Sun Cults and Mother Goddess system based from Rome as it would have been destroyed too early under Satan’s rule. It was only to be destroyed now in this 21st century and the Last or 120th Jubilee of this Age.
The Reformation began the Sardis system. The first text refers to the last or demarcation church which took the name of the Living Church of God. This last church was not formed until 1998 after it collapsed as the Global Church of God which was an Armstrongite offshoot of the last of the Sardis system.
The Laodicean Church system was also formed from this system in the 19th century as the Seventh Day Advent movement and was destroyed by doctrinal error and heresy introduced by the Jesuit infiltration over the 19th and 20th centuries and became Trinitarian by declaration in 1978.
The Adventist members refer to themselves as the Laodicean system in their desire to be the last system before Messiah. The Living Church of God system refers to the UCG system as Laodicean but they are in fact both remnants of Sardis arising from the Sardis ministry of Armstrong with almost identical doctrines except the Godhead in UCG is variable and all heretical.
1"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: `The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "`I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. 2Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. 3Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
A confusing detail is that the next Church, Philadelphia, is inserted between the Sardis and Laodicean systems when it is in fact the last functioning system and the Laodicean arose before it. The symbolism can be seen from the place on the mail route from Sardis to Laodicea. It is a secondary route and in fact draws its people out of both systems into a restored system of the Temple Calendar worshipping the One True God Eloah and understands the function of the Elohim as sons of God.
The restoration of the Calendar is also used to destroy Judah and correct its heresies.
7"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: `The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8"`I know your works. 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. 9Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie -- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you. 10Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. 11I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
Note that the Spirit is speaking to the churches of the Last Days and the elect of the First Resurrection are drawn from the two dysfunctional systems of Sardis and Laodicea and placed in Philadelphia so that the elect may attain the First Resurrection.
Laodicea is the most powerful in terms of funds and people yet it is heretical and spewed out of the Mouth of God.
14"And to the angel of the church in La-odice'a write: `The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. 15"`I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"
And so in the last days only one of the three groups makes it into the First Resurrection as a functioning system.
The others do not even realise they are dysfunctional and heretical in their major doctrines.
The failure of Sardis and Laodicea to deal with Israel and the world stems from their own inadequacies and false doctrine and from those false doctrines they were unable to deal also with Islam and the entire world. These failures are also explained in the paper The Song of Songs (No. 145).