“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.” (Revelation 3:3)
Remember back in Thyatira Jesus told them in Revelation 2:26 that “he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations“. Now in Sardis Jesus reminds them to think back and “remember” what you received and heard in Thyatira and “hold fast” to what you have left, and repent of what you have allowed yourself to lose: your works being found perfect before God.
If you will not watch, he states he will come on them suddenly, and they will not be prepared! Jesus gave this same warning a number of times even while he was still physically on earth, and gave a very specific parable to warn against not keeping the burning love of the Holy Ghost, the work of perfection, alive in your soul.
The parable was about the 5 wise and the 5 foolish virgins who had lamps, but only the wise took extra oil (representing the maintenance of their soul “holding fast” with the Word and the Spirit of God – see Matthew 25:1-13.) The cry went out suddenly at midnight that the bridegroom had come for the marriage feast, and all 10 virgins were woken up out of a “sleep”, but the lamps of the 5 foolish had run out of oil and had gone out. They did not “hold fast” and their spiritual oil had run out, consequently they were not ready and lost out. Only those with a burning lamp were allowed into the marriage feast. (Remember the lamp, or the candlestick represents the church, and the the light of the candlestick represents the pure burning love of the Holy Ghost and the clear light of the Word concerning Jesus and his church; for only a faithful love for Jesus keeps that light burning – see Revelation 1:12.)
Now Jesus finishes the parable by warning: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
In particular he is giving this warning here because in the next church age, Philadelphia, Jesus would suddenly come for the marriage feast with his standout bride, the church of God. The 5 wise virgins can be represented as the “true” people of God amongst 5 spiritual church conditions of: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Sardis. These true people would “trim their lamps” (making them even brighter) for the marriage feast. Many others are like the 5 foolish virgins, only having a name, but being spiritually dead, and represent the “fallen” people of God during the 5 church conditions already mentioned. These fallen, yet still religious people, would not be ready for such a message concerning the marriage feast of the one true bride. Their lamps, (their understanding and love for the truth) had gone out! Yet they were still claiming to be true virgins and knocked on the door wanting in, but Jesus would not open to them and said “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:12)
This does not imply that during the darker ages (Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Sardis) when a clear visible church of God was not standing out separate from all falseness and division on spiritual Mount Zion, that true Christians were not married to Christ. True Christians have always been married to Christ, that is why they are described with the name of “true and faithful.” But what this parable of the ten virgins does imply is that when the call to “come out from amongst them” went out (or the call to the marriage “feast” where they all gather together to the bridegroom to celebrate), that then it became evident that some of those virgins were true and “trimmed” their lamps of love so they would be even brighter.
But others had let their true love for Jesus go out. They were not worthy nor ready to be part of the “feast.” False, so-called Christian churches had effectively killed the true love and desire to follow and obey Christ in pure unity and truth.
In the parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins, Jesus, the bridegroom, came for the marriage feast at midnight. The Jews divided the night into four “watches” each named according to when the “watch” ended. The first began at sunset to three hours later, around 9pm and was named “even”; the second from this time to midnight and is called “midnight”, hence Jesus is referring to 12pm as the time that the bridegroom returns for the marriage feast; the third from midnight to three hours before sunrise and is called “cock crowing”; and the fourth from this time to sunrise called “morning”. Today we refer to a day by the 24 hour clock and “technically” recognize midnight as the end of the day, but in this parable this does not necessarily represent only the end of the Gospel day. No one knows when the end of time, the end of the Gospel day will be (except God the Father), but we know it is getting near. The ten virgins were awakened out of their sleep, and there are still many people mixed up in a mess of so called “Christianity” that also need to awaken out of sleep for the night is far spent!
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Romans 13:11-12)
Now the Sardis church age, the 5th church age, approximates the dates of 1730 to 1880. (There will be more said later concerning how these approximate dates are determined from the Book of Revelations.) But even though the message to Sardis was for the church located at Sardis, and for the Church age of Sardis, spiritually today we need to “watch” that we do not fall asleep and lose out also. Like how all the Epistles are also for us today, the Sardis message is also for us today.
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:35-37)
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10)
When people spiritually are not “watching” the Devil always takes advantage to bring in false people amongst them that will seduce the true into compromise and to divide them and gather them to themselves:
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31)
Because people “slept” and were not “watching” is why compromise came in after the Apostles, and men created their own religions (Catholicism and divided Protestant sects) and many doctrines and called them “Christian”. This is also why Jesus foretold of this happening in a parable, in the which he also explained how, at the appointed time, his true ministry would be sent to preach the full truth to gather the true worshipers apart from the false worshipers:
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)
The beginning of this particular “harvest” where the tares are gathered out from the wheat, especially happened in the Philadelphia church age, approximately beginning in 1880 (the end of the Sardis church age. Remember in Sardis, Jesus warned if they would not watch, he would come upon them at an hour they did not expect.) Starting around 1880 the full truth was sounded out by a true ministry: salvation from sin, the sanctifying of the nature and infilling of the true Holy Ghost to live a sin free life, and the true, undivided unity and oneness of the church of God. (This absolutely is not to be confused with the modern day “ecumenical” movement where various Churches “unionize” but yet are divided on doctrine, and still are not completely delivered from sin.) Jesus wanted us to clearly understand this parable about the tares, so he explained it later in Matthew the 13th chapter:
“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:36-43)
The “furnace of fire” that the tares would be cast into is the preaching of the judgments of God’s word against: sin, division, false doctrine, false Christians, false churches, etc. This IS what the preaching of the Revelation message is all about! This is one main reason why Jesus gave his Revelation message! To help honest souls to be gathered apart from falseness so they will only serve and worship Jesus in perfect unity with his one true bride: the church of God.
Have you been watching? Has this message come upon you like a thief?