THERE WILL BE SEVEN STAGES OF CHURCH HISTORY
CHRIST FADING FROM HIS CHURCH: The Church throughout the Ages: SEVEN SUCCESSIVE STAGES IN CHURCH HISTORY. For just a moment, let me give you a perspective- there are seven letters in Revelation 2 – 3 that give us the church in prophetic perspective – the church from Christians ascension until He comes to take His church – from century one to the rapture. In the first place, the seven Churches represent seven phases or periods in the Church’s history, stretching from the time of the apostles to the coming again of Christ, the characteristics of which are set forth partly in the names of these churches, but more fully in the epistles addressed to them.
There was the Ephesian period–30-60 AD a period of warmth and love and labor for Christ, dating directly from the apostles, in which defection began by the gradual cooling of the love of some, the false professions of others and the incoming of undue exaltations of the clergy and church offices.
Then came the Smyrna period–60 -300 AD the era of martyrdom, and of the sweet savor unto God of faithfulness unto death, but marked with further developments of defection in the establishment of castes and orders, the license of Judaizing propensities, and consequent departures from the true simplicities of the Gospel. Then followed the Pergamite period, 300-500 AD in which true faith more and more disappeared from view, and clericalism gradually formed itself into the system, and the church united with the world, and Babylon began to rear itself aloft.
Then came the Thyatiran period– 500-1500 AD the age of purple and glory for the corrupt priesthood, and of darkness of truth; the age of effeminacy and clerical domination, when the church usurped the place of Christ, and the witness of Jesus brought dungeons, stakes and inquisitions; the age of the enthronement of false prophetess, reaching to the days of Luther and the Reformation.
Then came the Sardian period–1500-1800 AD the age of separation and return of the rule of Christ; an age of many worthy names, but marked with deadness withal, and having much of which to repent; an age covering the spiritual lethargy of the Protestant centuries before the great evangelical movements of the last hundred years. Next was the Philadelphian period 1800-1950 AD is a time of great missionary fervor, evangelistic outreach, and devotional godliness. in this time the world was penetrated with the gospel like no time since Pentecost.
This brings us to the Laodicean period, 1950 AD – present they is lukewarmness, self-sufficiency, empty profession, and false peace, in which the day of judgment is to find the unthinking multitude who suppose they are Christians and are not.