Now, we're ready to get directly to the actual history that will answer, where did the very church go which Jesus Christ said he would build? Men have searched history for a large popular growing visible political organized body, in endeavoring to compile the history of the Church. Now, in preceding programs, we've been going into the matter of what is the Church that Jesus Christ founded. He said that I will build my Church, He did build His Church. And we have seen that it is not a political organization. It is not a visible organization of a group of people that you can see meeting in a certain place or a common a combination of them together or anything of the sort. The True Church of God is composed of those individuals, whether they are scattered or whether they're together and organized. It is merely those individuals who have and are led by the spirit of God, who have surrendered their way and turned to God. They are the organism, the spiritual organism, not a political organization. They are the spiritual organism in whose actual fleshly human bodies as a collective body; the spirit of God is working carrying on the work of God. And developing them, growing, spiritually, continually, so that they shall be born into the very Kingdom of God.
Now, Jesus founded His Church by sending His promised holy spirit and it was on the very day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., it wasn't in the year that most people seem to think. The True Church, the Church of God, as you read of it I Corinthians 1, verse 2, is not many divided quarreling groups or denominations or sects or anything of the sort, but it is one Church composed of many scattered members. One Church, united in spirit, united in mind and attitude of heart because its members have totally surrendered their wills to God. They have yielded to the correction and reproof of the Word of God, they study the Bible to live by every word of God, to be corrected by it and grow in grace and knowledge. They are overcoming. They are enduring. They are growing spiritually and they collectively are doing the work of God and they're the instrumentality. They're the body of Christ as God did His work through Jesus Christ as an individual when He was here on earth. He said, of myself, I can't do a thing. Of myself I can do nothing.., so said Jesus. But He explained, He did a lot of things. He said the Father that dwells in me, He does the works. How did the Father dwell in Him? The Father was up in heaven while He was here on earth. But it was the power of the spirit that emanated from the Father. The Father dwelt in Him in spirit and it was the spirit of God in that body of Christ that did the work of his ministry for 3 1/2 years.
Now, He went to heaven. And He said if I go I will send another comforter and the power of the holy spirit on that day of Pentecost came and got into the collective body; the invisible spiritual organism of human beings of His Church; His body and that now became the body of Christ through whom God was working. And so the True Church is the one that's doing the very work of God. Now, all prophesies we've seen prophesied that Church would be persecuted. Jesus said if they've persecuted me, they'll also persecute you. We, now if we're in the True Church of the Body of Christ. It was not a large popular political organization. It had nothing to do with the political affairs of this world. Jesus called it out of the world to be separate. It is a Church of separation, not a church of union with the world or the world's ways. It is a Church that's persecuted by the world. It is a Church that actually had to go into hiding for 1260 years in the middle ages. It is the Church though that God is using, that has the truth of God.
Now then, history hasn't noted that Church very much about it.., because it isn't the one that the world has look for. Well, we were going into the seventeenth chapter of book of Revelation where we saw the kind of Church that men have looked to. It's called Babylon and it's a great church. Very large. Very great but it's pictured as a fallen church and in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, we saw the prophecy of the True Church; persecuted, despised and hated by the devil whose deceived the whole world. And consequently, the world deceived; also despised this Church. And in II Corinthians eleven we saw that Satan has his ministers. And they pose as ministers of righteousness. And Jesus said that they would come saying that He is the Christ, actually saying He is the Christ, proclaiming Him and His name.., calling themselves by His name and Christian and so they say they're ministers of Christ. As He said, deceiving the many. That's in your Bible; that's been prophesied.
Now, also in this book of Revelation is an amazing prophecy of the True Church and its course in history. Now, if you want to find it in history, you must first see what God said would happen in this actual prophecy and it's in the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation. As I said, usually most people in studying the book of Revelation skip over these two very important chapters; the second and third. Well, they're not a part of the general prophecy of Revelation which is a prophecy mostly of this world. But here is the prophecy of God's Church.
Now, my friends, the True Church of God is not perfect. The True Church of God is not as holy as God. It is composed of people however who have really repented and who have surrendered their lives to God and are led by God but they still have human nature. And they're still making some mistakes and they're far from perfect. And so you'll find that even in the course of this True Church as you find it pictured in Revelation 2 and 3, where seven churches are pictured. Now, literally there were seven literal churches in Asia. They were on a mail route, as a mail carrier would go from Ephesus and then up to Smyrna, and then to Pergamos and Thyatira and then he'd start coming down here to Sardis and Philadelphia and finally to Laodicea. It goes around in a circle there and that's where those towns if you get a map in the back of your Bible you will probably a map of the time the Apostle Paul and over there in Asia Minor.., its Turkey today. The nation of Turkey occupies that territory today and there you will find those cities and they go right around the circle. It isn't an awful lot of territory, it's a mail route, I don't think a man could make it in an hour or so, of course, but they carried mail around that way and those churches were there.
Now, it so happened and the reason that Jesus took those churches as the type of the entire Church, through it's seven successive eras or stages of different generations from that time up until now until the second coming of Christ. The reason He took them was because.., for instance the Church of Ephesus was typical of the way the church was when it started out. And the very next one, at this town of Smyrna there in Asia minor, the condition in that church at that time was absolutely typical of the way Jesus knew the church would be a little later on. And then when you come to Pergamos, the way they were there, was exactly the way the church would be after a few hundred years and a little later on. Then after that, you come to another stage, in history and Jesus knew how it would be and it was just exactly like they were there in the town of Thyatira at the time when John wrote in 90 A.D. So, He took them as a type.
Now, here we find, while it's pictured as seven churches, it's really seven stages of the one True Church.., in seven successive times. Also, you'll find every one of the seven conditions in the church at all times but, in the early years, the Ephesus condition dominated and the tail end of it the Laodicean condition is to dominate on the earth and there you are.
Now, in Revelation one, verse 12 & 13 as we saw near the preceding program, Jesus is pictured in vision in the middle of seven candlesticks. Now the Bible is using symbols there, but it interprets its on symbols. It says these candlesticks are or mean the seven particular church congregations in these seven places of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. But Christ was in the midst of them; that shows Christ is in the midst of His Church. And even though the people are not always perfect, even though the Church falls away from a lot of the truth part of the time, they are the only people on earth that are Christ' people. The only ones that have His holy spirit. Even though we have the holy spirit, my friends, we do have the holy spirit by measure. Christ had it without measure. And even though we have the holy spirit, we've got a lot of human nature in us and we're not praying as much as Jesus did, we're not as close to God as He was and we perhaps do a lot of things that He just did do.
Now, it is a type then, of the entire Church through the entire age. So, Jesus dwells in then the entire Church. It is His body through whom He carries on His work and He is the head of this Church. Now, we're getting into the Church that Jesus is head of. Not a political organization. Not one that elevates men to a position of leadership. But the one where Christ is the head and where Christ calls the ones He can use and carries out His government through them.
Alright, now Jesus chose these seven churches because they formed this pattern that I have just explained. Now, why have all Bible students until now been unable to identify these churches? You don't find in the average history these churches that you find in Revelation 2 and 3: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and so on.., you don't find them identified in the average book of history. And why is it? Let me tell you why. I have to explain that before we go ahead with it. It's due to the fact that everyone has assumed erroneously that these seven churches picture the seven stages of what they thought was the Church of God; the visible, political, organized group that have been regarded by mankind as the Church of Christ or the Church of God. And so they've tried to fit the history of what happened in the church of this world, in the world church, they tried to fit it to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Philadelphia and so on.., Sardis and Laodicea. And it's been a total misfit, my friends. In other words, it's been assumed that the churches of this world, the world churches, of this world, are pictured in Revelation 2 and 3 as continuous.., of the true church in apostolic days. And what a lot of people seem to think today, is the church itself went completely bad, and then it's had a revival in more or less recent times. The True Church of God never went bad. Of course, it's always been filled with human beings that were not holy good but nevertheless, they've been people that primarily were yielded to Christ and to God. And in and through whom he could work.
Now everyone it seems though has supposed that following the apostolic church, these seven churches, picture the course of the history of the churches in this world that were organized and going into the politics of this world. And that is not true! These two chapters, in the book of Revelation, picture and they convey God's message to the True Church of God. The one that was kick out, the one that was dispersed, the one that was scattered, the one that was despised by the world.., and by the organized groups of political organizations of this world. The one that was persecuted. The Church which Christ lives and works in. The Church which is His body, His instrumentality.., the Church He uses. It is the Church that was scattered, persecute, unorganized.., many of whose members have been martyred. In other words, this is the Church.., pictured in Revelation 12, not the church pictured in Revelation 17. Now nearly all historians have thought that these churches, these seven in Revelation 2 and 3 are picturing the same church that you find in Revelation 17. That is not true.
So, this church is composed of members who even though they're begotten by and led by the holy spirit yet are human. And therefore, they have not ever been perfect. In the message to each of these seven churches, Jesus has a word of correction. First he starts out and He says, I know thy works. And He knows good about them, and He tells them the good, then He'll nearly always He'll say, I have a few things against thee. Now here to Ephesus He says nonetheless, I have somewhat against thee. To Smyrna, He says, I know thy works, and so on.., well, He doesn't have quite so much against them but later He comes on to some things like that. Then in verse fourteen, of Revelation 2, to the Church of Pergamos, He says but I have a few things against thee after He said after I know thy works and how good there were and so it goes.., Thyatira, I know thy works and charity and service and faith.., He said I know all those good things about you.., but the next verse notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee. That's what Christ is saying in His own Church! Sardis, I know thy works, thou has the name that thou livest and are dead. He has a lot against them. Be watchful, He says, and strengthen the things that remain, but that Church didn't do it. Now, my friends, we know just who these Churches are. But you have to know what to look for, to look into history and find them.
So, Christ points out the things that they need to overcome. They're His Churches and He's correcting and you'll find in Revelation 2 and 3 He corrects His Churches. But, they are the people that have and are led by His spirit and who put themselves under God's government instead of human traditions and self desire and who have in the main the True Gospel even though they.., actually in history often lost large portions of it.., even vital portions of it. Now, chapter 2, verse 1, let's read a little of it. These things, saith He that holds the seven stars, that is the seven stars as explained in the last of the first chapter as being the angels of the True Church of God, that holds these stars.., or it's symbolic of the angels, in His right hand who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, that is, in these Churches as Christ is in their midst. Jesus Christ is in these Churches. They are His Churches; they're not the devil's churches.., that falsely call themselves by the name of Christ. And now, remember, the True Church, not a political organized body at all, it's seldom noticed by the world. Alright, now let's understand who they are, one by one. Let's take this first one, the Church of Ephesus.
The Church at Ephesus pictured the Apostolic Church, the Church in the days of the apostles as it started out in it's splendor, its purity, its holiness.., filled with the holy spirit of God. That Church that patiently labored in the Gospel, which met many false apostles but remained nearly steadfast to the truth. And yet, even as Paul said in his time in that Church that even of your own selves, he said, are men going to arise to lead away a following after themselves. Paul talked of this mystery of iniquity.., he said even now it doth already work. Yes it did, even then. Well, there were two, now listen to this carefully, there were two nineteen years time cycles in the history of the apostolic Church during which the Gospel was carried to the old world. All of it in the continent that we now call Asia, with much of it in Asia Minor, Palestine and around in that part of the world. Well, the old world, it got into Europe too and even into Rome, yes, but not in the New World or in America, of course. Two nineteen year time cycles, that that first Church called at the one at Ephesus remained and it was organized, more or less, there was a scattering at times, and they carried the True Gospel of Christ at that time.
Now, a time cycle is nineteen years. God has made it that way. God set the sun, the moon, in the heavens and caused the earth to turn on its axis for days, and months and years and to segregate time. And, a day is a revolution of the earth which looks like the sun rising and setting on each day and God's way of calculating ends when the sun sets. But, a month is one revolution of the moon around the earth.., about 29 1/2 days. A year, is one revolution of the earth around the sun.., approximately 365 and a fourth days. Now, the earth turning on its axis, in relation to the moon and to the sun, all come into direct relation with each other at the same split second.., once ever 19 years. God set it that way, He set the sun and the moon in the heavens and the earth turning on its axis so that there is a actual time cycle every nineteen years. This first Church lasted exactly two of those time cycles. Now, that's not an accident. This is the True Church of God!
Alright, listen, it was exactly nineteen years from 31 A.D., when the Church was founded. And that's a date very few people seem to have correctly. To the very time when Paul received the vision to go into Europe, when the Gospel went from Asia over to Europe. The first 19 years it stayed in Asia. Exactly at the end of 19 years, Paul had a vision and God opened the door for Paul to carry the Gospel to Europe. Now in (Acts 16:9), Paul had a vision of man in Macedonia, which is in Greece and, well, let's see just up above Greece in that same neighborhood, and which is in Europe who shouted, "help us." Well, Paul described that event in II Corinthians, the second chapter, twelfth and thirteenth verses and there he wrote of it as a door that was opened unto me of the Lord. When he was called to Europe, the door was opened by which he could carry the Gospel into Europe. Now, that is more significant, my friends, than you can possibly realize. So, listen,
And was opened unto him of the Lord. God opened that door. By which he meant the way was open to preach the Gospel in Europe. Now Paul, went into Europe into the late spring of 50 A.D., exactly 19 years after the Church started in 31 A.D. And after a few months of preaching, he arrived in Corinth in the fall of that year. You'll find that in (Acts 18:1), Acts 18, verse one, where Paul remained for a year and six months; you'll read in verse eleven. Now, it was now the beginning of 52 A.D. An insurrection broke out against Paul when Gallio was deputy or proconsul of Acaia. You read that in verse 12. A recently discovered inscription in Greece states that Gallio held this position during 52 A.D. Now, that is checked up in modern history by a recently discovered inscription dug up in archeology which proves that the Gospel went to Europe in 50 A.D. just 19 years after the Church was founded.
Now, from 50 A.D., it was another 19 years until the fleeing of the real Mother Church of Jerusalem and all of those in the original Church in Palestine when that city was surrounded for the first time by Roman armies under the General Cestius. It was in the year of 67 A.D. Now, Jesus had warned them in Matt 24, "When you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then flee to the mountains." "Let him which is on the housetop not come down." Now, actually, literally, that warning applies primarily to an event that is coming in our time now. But you know, there's a duality in all of the things in prophecy and all of the things in God's word and it had a literal significance and a literal application at that time. Cestius and his Roman army came down towards Jerusalem and in the sense, they were surrounded it, at least on the north, and those true Christians there did flee at that time from 50 A.D., it was another 19 years until that time in 69 A.D., when they fled. They went way up north to a town called Pella on the other side of the river Jordon, of course.
Now, from that time forward, the united power of the Church of God, to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom ceased. Now for some reason, when you read history, Cestius was.., he stopped there and he was called back. And his army waited, they didn't invade Jerusalem and 70 A.D., another General, Titus, came down and led the army and the invasion and that terrible siege against the Jews and Jerusalem, but that was after the real Christians and the True Church had fled. Now, in history, you'll find the real invasion occurred in 70 A.D., of course. Now, no longer was there a Mother Church at Jerusalem to whom all the other Churches could look as a standard of truth. And I shown you in history, and even in Gibbon's history, how the Gentile Churches always appealed to the Church at Jerusalem.., for leadership because they knew it was inspired by the holy spirit and to settle all disputes about what was truth or the True Gospel.
Well, it now became a struggle to strive for the faith once delivered or for the truth..., as you read in Jude 3. And the Church had left its first love. And you read that about the Church in Ephesus how it had left it first love. Well, soon after John finished the book of Revelation, the remnant of the True Church which did keep the commandments of God, they believed the Gospel of the Kingdom, they had their faith in Christ and the faith of Christ..., well, they were cast out and they were scattered over the length and breath of the whole Roman Empire. Now, that fulfilled Jesus' warning when He said, (Revelation 2:5), To this Church He said, I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place. And that candlestick was removed out of its place. Jesus removed, He took out, the True Church, the light giving candlestick from the unrepentant local congregations where they had assembled.
Now, congregations carried on. Visible organization of the church carried on.., but the True Christians were finally removed.., they were persecuted. They were cast out. So the real Church, the real candlestick that was these people that did followed the True Gospel and the word of Christ, they were cast out so, that what Jesus meant here which He said, I will come unto thee quickly and remove thy candlestick out of its place. Jesus took it away, that's (Revelation 2:5) after He had told them that He knew their labor, their patience; how they cannot bear them that are evil and all that kind of thing, nevertheless, He said, I have some what against thee because thou has left thy first love. Remember, therefore from whence thou are fallen and repent and do thy first works or else I will come unto thee quickly and remove thy candlestick out of it's place except thou repent.
Well now the majority that had been in the Church, fell away and they didn't repent and the real candlestick, those that remain true and faithful, the real Church, was taken out. Those individuals that were persecuted and taken out of the political or visible organization. Now, my friends, we come to the Church at Smyrna. The next one. But, at the ending of that time it ended the apostolic age that was typified by this Church at Ephesus which is the real apostolic church.
Now, perhaps we have time to begin a little in this program on the next church; the one at Smyrna. The Church at Smyrna arises up next and followed the Apostolic church. It appeared to be dead.., nonexistence. And yet it was alive.., suffering persecution. Let me read about it. Under the angel of the Church of Smyrna, beginning with verse eight, in Revelation 2, write, and this is what John was to write to this Church, these things sayest the first and the last, which was dead and is alive, that's Christ, I know thy works and tribulation and poverty. But, thou art rich, rich spiritually He meant, and in the truth, and I know the blaspheme of them that says they are Jews and are not but are the synagogue of Satan. Why, almost no one knows who that is or what that means. Fear none of these things which thou shall suffer, behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried and you have tribulation 10 days, be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.
Here's the prophesied history of the True Church, my friends, not the churches of this world, not the apostate churches, the Real Church. He that hath an ear, let him hear, what the spirit saith to the Churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of second death. Now, I think I'll have to break off there and I will begin there and explain that about the Church of Smyrna and give you the actual history of it. And who it was and where they were and what happened after the days of the apostles to the True Church. I've been giving you a little of the history of what happened to the visible church in the world, that was persecuting those individuals. First were in it, were two true Christians until they kicked them out altogether. Now, we're going to see where is that True Church and how it comes on down to today.
Now, I want to get to prophecy very soon. And I also what to get to some other subjects but I do want to finish this about the church first and I tell you, my friends, you've never heard this anywhere before. I know. Most of you have never heard of it before.