“ The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” - Revelation 1:20
John has seen this vision which was an event that was to transpire to seven Gentile churches in Asia Minor. The whole of the church ages is God dealing with the Gentiles, and caling out a "Gentile Bride" to Himself. That makes the "Church Ages" and the "Fulness of the Gentiles" one and the same thing.
event was actually God, sending seven messengers to seven church ages, which
was to transpire right after the Book of Acts until the second coming of
the Lord. These Seven Gentile Church Ages were to last within a period of
more or less 2000 years before Christ comes back for the literal rapture
of the church. During this brief period, Jesus Christ is set to gather all
His elected Gentile Bride from among all nations and denominations to prepare
them for the “catching away” as spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
After the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, God then started to deal with the Gentiles for their day of salvation. It started from A.D. 53 till this day when the Spirit of God has left the Jews on their own due to their rejection of the Messiah. "Lo, we turn to the Gentiles" were the words of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13: 44-48. And in Romans 11:25, Paul declared, -"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
Endtime believers have witnessed the true fulfillment of this prophesy today as we have identified who these seven messengers are and what the exact dates of these seven Gentile church ages were. Most Bible scholars know for sure that it was Apostle Paul who paved the way to where God's Gospel ministry to the Gentiles was started. Apostle Paul wrote most of the Epistles in the New Testament benchmarking the “Grace Dispensation”. Here in this article, I wish to lay out the times of the seven church ages along with their corresponding messengers for the benefit of the reading public.
1. EPHESIAN CHURCH AGE (A.D. 53 to A.D. 170) - Messenger: Saint Paul
Revelation 2: 1-7 reads:
"Unto the angel of the Church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
messenger (angel) to the church of Ephesus was the apostle Paul. That
he was the messenger to the first age of the Gentile era cannot be denied.
Though to Peter was granted the authority to open the doors to the Gentiles,
it was given to Paul to be their apostle and prophet. He was the Prophet-Messenger
to the Gentiles. His prophetic office, by which he received the full revelation
of the Word for the Gentiles, authenticated him as their apostolic messenger.
Paul founded the church at Ephesus about the middle of the first century. This enables us to set the date of the beginning of the Ephesian Church Age about 53 A.D. Paul was absoultely true to the Word. He never deviated from it no matter what the cost (Gal. 1:8-9). His ministry was in the power of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:1-5). And he had the evident fruit of his God-given ministry (2 Cor 11:2).
2. SMYRNEAN CHURCH AGE (A.D. 170 to A.D. 312) - Messenger: Saint Irenaeus
Revelation 2: 8-11 reads-" And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
name of the second church age was Smyrna, which means "bitterness or myrrh."
It was associated with dead, because the Christians here were dying. A persecuted
church, the church of Smyrna passed through the fiery furnace of
tribulations, but was a sweet-smelling savor unto Christ. The great
ten days of tribulation means "ten years of the bloodiest
persecution" which happened in this era. It was the bloodiest
one of all of them since Nero in 67 A.D, Diocletian was the emperor
here, during the year of 303 to 312 A.D.
Irenaeus was the star-messenger to Smyrna. He was God's messenger 'cause he was the one who swept the country, into France (Gaul), establishing churches, and every one was established upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, raising the dead, healing the sick, stopping the rains, and performing miracles daily. He knowed that the living God lived among the people.
3. PERGAMEAN CHURCH AGE (AD 312 to A.D. 606) - Messenger: Saint Martin
Revelation 2: 12-17 reads: "And to the
angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which
hath the sharp sword with two edges; I
know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan's seat [is]:
and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those
days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you,
where Satan dwelleth.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it]."
third church age is called Pergamos. And the date that
this church existed was from 312, A.D. 312 to 606. The age was:
false doctrine, Satan lying, the foundation of papacy rule, and marriage
to church and state. And the star, the Angel of this church, was
Saint Patrick was Saint Martin's nephew; Saint Martin's sister was the mother of Saint Patrick. The life of Saint Martin is one of the greatest miracle filled lives of anybody in the church ages. He was a soldier to begin with, I believe. And then one day he was coming by and there was someone, a man laying cold and shivering, and all the people that was willing, or, not willing, but was able to help the man, they just passed him by like the--the priest and the Levites did in the Good Samaritan. But when Saint Martin come by, realizing his duty as a Christian believer, he had one coat, a cloak over his shoulders; he cut it in two with his sword and gave half of it to the beggar; he took the other half. And that night begin his career, for Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision, wrapped in that same robe that he cut half in two; which fulfilled the Scripture, "Insomuch as you have done unto these, you have did it unto Me." St. Martin stayed with the Word, just like Paul did. He was the messenger to this church age.
4. THYATERIAN CHURCH AGE (A.D 606 to A.D. 1520) - Messenger: Saint Columba
2: 18-19 states:
"And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write;
These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of
fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
fourth church age, "Thyatira," means "to be laxed,
loose, or hazy." The star-messenger was Columba, from
Ireland and Scotland, which was a nephew to Saint Martin; and lived about
sixty years after Saint Patrick, and so his ministry begin about sixty years
after Saint Patrick.
The word, Thyatira, has various meanings amongst which is "Continual Sacrifice“ - a continual presentation of the sacrifice of Christ. It also mean the continual sacrifice in lives and labors of the true believers of the Lord. This age is called the "Dark Ages" because it was indeed the darkest period of all history. It was the age of Pope Innocent III who claimed that he was the "vicar of Christ --supreme sovereign over the church and the world," who instituted the INQUISITION which under his direction shed more blood than at any other time except in the Reformation.
Thyatira was the age of Pornocracy, the rule of harlots. The popes were not only guilty of immoral sex acts (fathering scores of illegitimate children, committing sodomy etc.) but were guilty of selling priestly offices to the highest bidders.
Those who would not agree to the Roman catholic Doctrine were were fed to lions, burnt, tortured and persecuted. Surely these Thyatirean saints were the "cream of the crop", full of the Holy Ghost and faith, created unto good works, showing forth His praise, holding not their lives dear unto themselves, but gladly giving their all as a sweet sacrifice unto the Lord.
5. SARDISEAN CHURCH AGE (A.D. 1520 to A.D. 1750) - Messenger: Martin Luther
3: 1-6 reads: "And unto the angel of the church
in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits
of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that
thou livest, and art dead.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
messenger to the Sardisean church age was Martin Luther. His name
becomes more familiar to the Bible scholar, or the teacher, or the laity,
rather, today. And that church age begin in 1520 and ended in 1750, 1520
to 1750; and the age of what we call Reformation Age. His
teaching was that “the just shall live by faith”.
This was the justification stage. The stalk.
How that even here in the Sardis age, that was the marriage age (church and state). And Sardis means a “marriage.” Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis on the church door at Wittenberg, Germany protesting the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. From that date the Reformation set in; the fire begin to fly. He protested that Catholic church standing there, that ink pen like that, he said, "This be the holy body of Christ? It's a wafer and a little wine." And whammy, he throwed it on the floor. Martin Luther spearheaded the Reformation Age by printing Bibles in this age. It was also the time when Guterberg invented the printing press.
6. PHILADELPHIAN CHURCH AGE (A.D. 1750 to A.D. 1906) - Messenger: John Wesley
3: 7-13 states: "And to the angel of the church
in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that
is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth;
and shutteth, and no man openeth;
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
sixth church age is called the Philadelphian Church Age.
And the star or the messenger, angel-messenger to this church age,
we believe, solemnly, with all of our heart, to be John Wesley.
John Wesley, a little Anglican man from over in England, that belonged to the Anglican church, but he saw the light on the Gospel. It was the hour for that Philadelphian age to come forth. And when he did, he preached the second works of grace, a sanctification by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
The church age begin at 1750 when the Lutheran church age went out and lasted up to somewhere in 1900, around 1906 A.D., the Wesleyan church age. This was the "age of brotherly love", the great missionary age and the open door age. And the reward was a pillar, and the revelation of three Names: the Name of God, the Name of the City of God, and God's New name, is the revelation that was given to this church age.”
7. LAODICEAN CHURCH AGE (A.D. 1906 - Rapture) - Messenger: William Branham
age is the fulfillment of Revelation 3: 14-22: "And
unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning
of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither
cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou
art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
an in-depth evaluation of all the men of God that has evangelized the world
today, none of the rest can compare to the life and ministry of William
Branham, a seer and a prophet of God to our generation. William Marrion
Branham was the initiator of the healing and charismatic revival that began
The Full Gospel Men's Voice, (now, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International), in its February 1961 issue wrote:
"In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham, a Prophet and Seer of God, whose photograph appears on the front cover of this issue of Full Gospel Men's Voice. Branham has been used by God, in the Name of Jesus, to raise the dead!"
One historian of that movement stated that William Branham was "a prophet to our generation", and a Pentecostal Historian wrote, "Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world."
On June 11, 1933, while William Branham was baptizing the 17th person amongst hundreds of converts in the Ohio River near Jeffersonville, Indiana, a bright fiery Light suddenly appeared over him and a voice spoke out, "As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of Jesus Christ, so are you sent to forerun His second coming!" This was heard by the people themselves present in the place.The next edition of the Jeffersonville Evening News reported and published the incident with the subheading, "Mysterious Star Appears Over Minister While Baptizing".
In May of 1946, as he prayed alone late one night, an angel of light appeared to him, saying, "Do not fear. I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar birth and misunderstood life has been to indicate that you are to take a gift of Divine healing to the peoples of the world. If you will be sincere when you pray and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer. You will go into many parts of the earth and will pray for kings and rulers and potentates. You will preach to multitudes the world over and thousands will come to you for counsel."
This was literally fulfilled in the years that followed, for his ministry took him around the world seven times and many individuals of public influence, including Congressman Upshaw of the U.S.A. and King George VI of England, were healed as a result of his prayers.
To Read more about William Branham's life and ministry here.
To Read more of an in-depth history of the Seven Church Ages, Read the Book entitled "AN EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN CHURCH AGES" by William Marrion Branham.