When I was a child, I remember an evangelist saying we were living in the Philadelphia church. I honestly thought the man was crazy because I was living in Indiana at that time!!! Preachers just have no idea what kids hear, do they?
But that was the late 50s, and I think he was on the verge of being both right and wrong. If we can put approximate dates to each of the 7 churches - periods of time in history....he was on the cusp for sure.
Periods of church history:
1. Ephesus (desireable) Pentecost to 100AD
Good works, rejection of false teachings
2. Smyrna (myrrh – embalming the dead) 100AD- 313 AD – persecuted
major persuctions of the church under 10 different Roman Emperors:
1. Nero AD54
2. Domitian AD 81
3. Trajan, AD 98
4. Adrian, AD 117
5. Septimus Severus, AD 193
6. Maximum, AD 235
7. Decius, AD 249
8. Valerian, AD 254
9. Aurelian, AD 270
10. Diocletian, AD 284
3. Pergamos 313AD – 460AD. Thoroughly married. Paganism married with the church
Constantine was converted and declared that Christianity would be the State Religion. Incorporation of Pagan rituals into religious rituals in order to get more converts.
4. Thyatira 460 AD – 1517 AD – corrupt
Growing power of the Roman Papacy. Mass became obligatory.
5. Sardis 1517 AD – 1750 AD – reformation
Major translations of the Bible, major splits in various religions. Martin Luther, John Calvin…..
6. Philadelphia 1750 AD – 1950/70 - missions
World wide evangelism. Revivals. Religious cults.
7. Laodicea -1950/70 - ? - personal rights
It's all about what your own personal rights are...the rights of this group or that, the rights of one sector of a population against another. We are definitely living in this period today!