In Revelation chapters 2&3, we find within the Letters to the seven churches, evidence of a remnant of believers who are true to Jesus Christ and His call. This group represents what I believe to be His Remnant Church of the Last Days. We find them in four passages in chapters 2 & 3 of the Revelation.
In Revelation 2:8-11 we read the letter to the church at Smyrna, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ‘
This group of believers, is a church under persecution, a church that has suffered for the stand that they have made for Christ. They are told to be a fearless church. And while outwardly they look to be poor, Christ tells them they are rich. This church is promised a crown of life for being faithful all their life… right up to the time of their death. Notice Christ has no rebuke for this church? Persecution has a way of purifying a church. Suffering causes us to rely on our Savior, and we are promised in 1 Peter 3:13-16 “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” It doesn’t matter where the persecution comes from, we are to rely on the strength of our Savior, and testify of His provision for us, His protection of us, and His promises to us. His Remnant Church will be a persecuted church. (We will teach further on the Persecution and Suffering of His Remnant Church in more depth in other articles on this Blog.)
Now then, if we look back in Revelation chapter 2 at the letter to the church at Thyatira, the church that allowed false prophets to teach false doctrine, we find something interesting in this letter. Rev 2:24-26 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-”
It is apparent that here in these verses, we find evidence of a few in this church who made a stand for Sound Doctrine and Spiritual Truth. And, the promise to them for their faithfulness is to not be cast into tribulation, but be given a position of power in His Kingdom. These few faithful are more evidence of His Remnant Church in the Last Days. Christ tells them to “hold fast what you have till I come”. This is instructive because of Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” This is a primer for Christian service, with a promise that if these instructions are followed, God Himself will preserve the believer until Christ’s return.
In the letter to the church at Sardis, the dead church, in Revelation chapter 3, we find evidence of a few who are still spiritually alive. Rev. 3:4 &5 “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
In these verses we see more of His Remnant Church, those who have not “defiled their garments”. This passage says these are worthy and their name remains in the Book of Life… they are heaven bound, we see them again in Revelation 4:4 around the throne, and in Revelation 19:14 mounted on white horses following Christ the Warrior King into battle. The first recording of Christ’s promise to confess the name of the faithful servant before His Father is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” This is an honor in recognition of their faithful service in fulfilling the responsibilities they were given as a part of the Body of Christ.
The fourth passage in Revelation chapters 2 & 3 relating to His Remnant Church is found in the letter to the church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:8-12 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”
This church is recognized as having “a little strength” and “have kept My word” which tells us they are growing spiritually because they are students of the Scripture, which in turn has given them the strength to Stand and Hold Fast for Christ. And, while they too are a persecuted church, they persevered and so Christ promises to keep them “from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” This is evidence of the Pre-Trib Rapture in this passage, because the “hour of trial” is a reference to the Tribulation. Again, like the remnant at Thyatira they are told to “Hold fast”, there is yet a little work to do, a need to persevere a little longer, there are still some that need to be reached in these Last Days. Jude 22&23 “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
In these Last Days, God is calling out His Remnant Church, those who are and will be faithful. He began by building His Church as recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, and those who are faithful to the message of that church are those who are His Remnant Church today. He has preserved this witness for the past 2000 years, for He has not left Himself without a witness, ever. At times, throughout these intervening years, the Remnant may have appeared to be very poor, and even frail; but the Lord Himself chose them to carry His message and to do His will. The strength within His Remnant Church is the Power of the Cross, through the shed Blood of her Savior, Jesus Christ. When Christ calls His Bride to join Him in the Father’s House, there still will be a remnant on earth, 144,000 sealed believers from the children of Israel, two Old Testament prophets, and countless numbers who will heed their message in the Tribulation, the message of Salvation through the coming Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Where do you stand today? Are you a part of His Remnant Church?
To be continued…