and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation
by John Daniel

Philologos Religious Online Books


Secret Societies and
Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation

Transcription of seven 1-hour audio cassette messages 
by John Daniel, author of "Scarlet and the Beast"

Tape One 
The Secret Society at the Church of Ephesus

Introduction | Tape 2


John Kreigel: 
Hello, I'm John Kreigel, President of JKI Publishing. Before we begin this series of seven messages on the seven churches of Revelation, I want to give you a brief overview of God's plan for mankind as recorded in Scripture. This will help you better understand the purpose behind these seven messages.

There is a battle between God and Satan. It's not an eternal battle for Scripture prophesies the end of Satan. God is the victor over evil in the past, the present and the future. The devil knows this, but he continues the war against God anyway in hopes of putting off the inevitable. His mode of operation is to form secret societies to conspire against God and man.

Satan was once Lucifer, the mighty archangel. Scripture tells us that he first conspired with 1/3 of the angels to dethrone God. As a result, there was war in heaven and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven onto the earth where Lucifer became Satan, the Adversary. On earth, the Adversary's battle continued for the souls of mankind. God warned Adam and Eve in advance not to join Satan's rebellion or they would die. Satan deceived Eve with the promise of godhood; Eve recruited Adam and together they joined Satan's rebellion. Because of their disobedience, God could no longer fellowship with Adam and Eve, hence the human race was doomed to both a physical and spiritual death unless God intervened.

In love of, and infinite mercy for His creation, God set in motion a redemption plan. In Genesis 3:15 God announced His plan to Satan; God would destroy Satan through a Redeemer born of the seed of a woman which is interpreted to mean, born of a virgin. The development of the seed plot is recorded throughout the entire Old Testament. The Redeemer would be of Hebrew race, born of the tribe of Judah, through the kingly line of David. To the Jews of the Old Testament, he was known as the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah. The New Testament records the culmination of God's plan. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God's seed was miraculously placed in the womb of a virgin, her name was Mary, of the lineage of King David.

When the Messiah ("Christ" in Greek) was born, Mary named him Jesus which means "Savior." Jesus Christ, the Savior Messiah of the human race was both deity and man, God incarnate. In this form, God would pay the penalty for mankind's sin of rebellion by His own death. Christ's ministry on earth, His life, His death, burial and resurrection, completed the redemption plan for mankind.

However, the redemption plan is not a blanket amnesty for mankind. Every person must choose to accept or reject the plan. Only those who accept the plan are redeemed to eternal life. To carry the good news of this redemption plan throughout earth, Jesus Christ founded the Church. The Church is not a building, it's not a corporation. It is a body of believers in Christ who have been given the task to spread the good news that the human race is no longer doomed to eternal separation from God, that if they repent of their rebellion against the Almighty and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they will have eternal life. The finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary defeated Satan.

Satan's ultimate doom, however, is prophesied not to occur until after the end of the Church Age. Therefore, to prolong his life, the Adversary fights to extend the Church Age. With those who rejected the redemption plan, Satan conspired to form secret societies to infiltrate the Church for the express purpose of slowing the progress of evangelism. The record of this conspiracy is recorded in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.

John Daniel, author of the best-selling trilogy "Scarlet and the Beast" is both author and narrator of these series of seven audiocassette messages entitled "Secret Societies and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation."

Now, here is John Daniel.

John Daniel: 
Turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 2. We'll be reading from the old King James version. The Apostle John, the last surviving apostle, wrote this last gospel, this last letter, this last book in the New Testament.

During the early years of Roman persecution of the Church, John had been exiled to Patmos, a rocky island in the Mediterranean. There he saw a vision handed down to us as the book of Revelation. The date of writing was approximately 96 AD. When Jesus Christ gave John this revelation, he told the apostle to write what he saw and send it by letter to seven churches in Asia Minor. Today the country of Turkey takes in the territory of ancient Asia Minor.

Why these seven churches? There were others that Christ could've selected to receive this message. For example, below Laodicea was Colosse. In Greece there were three churches: Philippi, Thessalonica and Corinth. There was also the church at Galatia and there were churches in Hierapolis and Troas. Why were the seven churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea selected in this order by Jesus Christ to receive John's prophetic end-time message? Within our century, that is the 20th century, Bible prophecy scholars have concluded that these seven churches in Asia Minor were in fact prophesies of seven distinct church periods from John's day to our day. I accept this view for this simple reason: the inherent characteristics of each of the seven contemporary churches of Asia Minor can be recognized in seven distinct church periods throughout the past 2,000 years of church history. In fact, from John's day until our day, as the seven church-types marched West together, each would have its own time slot for domination, each its own Western headquarters and each its own infiltration by a pagan secret society.

Our study of each of the seven churches will be divided into three segments. First, we'll relate the characteristics of each local church in each Asia Minor city to what we know historically of that ancient city and church. Second, we'll relate these same characteristics to a church period that from our perspective today we can prove historically had those same characteristics. Finally, we'll relate the characteristics of each church to each individual Christian. Of that characteristic which best fits you and your spiritual walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, take particular note for that characteristic is developing you for your eternal occupation in the New Heaven and the New Earth so long as you overcome the obstacle the secret societies have placed before you to hinder your part in the spread of the Gospel.

As we read the Scripture covering each church, watch particularly for Christ's commendations, his condemnations, his warnings and his eternal promise to Christians who overcome. Now let's turn to Revelation 2:1-7 and read about Ephesus, the first church. I'll be reading from the old King James version.

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 Nicolaitanes, 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.

The primary meaning of the word "Ephesus" is "full-purposed; desirable." It's secondary meaning is "to let go; to relax." These two definitions cover the entire history of the Ephesian church period. Historically, the church was at first evangelical. Then following the death of the apostles, it relaxed. Ephesus, the capital city of Asia Minor was a seaport city in the largest of Asia Minor cities. The population is estimated to have been 500,000. The Roman amphitheatre seated 25,000 people with an acoustical design that enabled the audience to hear without the modern convenience of microphones. Ephesus was also known for its great library rivaling those at Rome, Athens, Antioch of Syria and Alexandria of Egypt. As a cultural center, people from all over the known world representing every occupation, language and belief visited Ephesus to study hence the church at Ephesus had a tremendous opportunity to spread the gospel and during the days of the apostles, it faithfully evangelized the world.

On the dark side, Ephesus was a pagan city with idolatry and immorality dominating its religious and social life. Acts 19 informs us that Ephesus was the Asian headquarters of the heathen goddess Artemis, also known as Diana. Her huge and beautiful temple was adorned with the wealth of Asia. This multi-breasted mother goddess was outwardly depicted as the patroness of virginity while simultaneously worshipped as the mother of gods with rites that were anything but pure. For example, in her temple were secret chambers where so-called virgin priestesses entertained male worshippers in licentious ceremonies. In our day these pagan mystery religions are called secret societies. Deuteronomy 13:6-8 warns us against joining their membership.

The seven local churches of Asia Minor were all founded by the apostles. However, of the seven, Ephesus is the only one where reference is made to the apostles. This confirms the prophetic nature of Christ's message, not only directed to each of the seven local churches in Asia Minor but to the broader prophecy of each church period which is now 2,000 years old.

The Ephesus church period of the first century and almost 3/4 of the second century is usually called the early church or the apostolic church. Paul and John were the prominent apostles attached to the Ephesian church. In Acts 19 we discover that John, who was headquartered at Jerusalem caring for Mary the mother of Jesus, sent 12 of his disciples to establish a church at Ephesus. By the time Paul arrived in Ephesus some years later, the twelve had made little headway. Within two years of Paul's arrival, a thriving church was founded which became the largest congregation of the seven Asia Minor churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. It was also in Ephesus that Paul left the devoted Aquila and Priscilla to labor for a while. When the mother of Jesus died shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, John himself left Jerusalem and set up residence at Ephesus. From Ephesus John wrote his gospel and for 30 years was the pastor of the Ephesian church. It was from Ephesus that the 95 year old apostle was exiled to the island of Patmos during the second persecution of the Roman emperor Domitian.

From Patmos John wrote the book of Revelation which includes the seven letters to the seven churches. The historian Eusebius records that John did not die on Patmos but rather was returned to Ephesus from where he once again governed the churches of Asia Minor until his death at age 100. Hence we see in the history of the Ephesian church the history of the apostolic church age for John was the last of the apostles to walk with Jesus. Now when we broaden the time of the local church at Ephesus to cover the prophetic Ephesus church period, we can historically date it from 70 AD to 170 AD. Therefore, the prophetic headquarters of the Ephesus church period remained in Asia Minor.

Christ's characteristics for this church is found in Revelation 2:1 — "he [Christ] that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks"

The seven stars refer to the seven angels over the seven churches found in Revelation 1:20 — "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."

Are these stars literal angels? There are two opinions: (1) Bible commentator Dr. E. Skyler English states that "the Greek word for angel simply means messengers. Sometimes it signifies angels, sometimes men." Dr. English says that "the Lord Jesus Christ would not be sending a message to an angel through a man so we may be sure that these angels are Christians in each local church who are willing to live so close to him that they can hear his message and carry it to others." (2) The second opinion is that the word "star" is sometimes used in other Scriptures to figuratively represent angelic beings. For example, Lucifer who was created an archangel means "morning star." Again in Revelation 9:1 a star falls from heaven unto the earth and in his hand is the key to the bottomless pit. This is believed by some to be Satan when he was cast out of heaven in Revelation 12:4 at the middle of the tribulation. Cast out with him are 1/3 of the stars of heaven. Dr. English says these numberless stars are the angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God. Ancient church fathers such as Origen of the 3rd century AD and Jerome of the 4th century, both believed that the seven stars are seven angelic beings appointed by God to oversee each local church. Likewise, modern pagan expositors see these seven stars of the seven churches as seven archangels.

Although we don't develop our doctrine from pagan expositors, it's important that we know what they think if we are to understand how they wage war against the church. Thirty-third degree Freemason Albert Pike writes in "Morals and Dogma" that "John addressed his rebukes and menaces to the seven churches, the number of the archangels." Many theologians believe that Lucifer was an archangel who attempted to exalt his throne above other archangels as he rebelled against God. Isaiah 14:13-14 records Lucifer's five step plan of revolution: (1) I will ascend into heaven; (2) I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; (3) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north; (4) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; (5) I will be like the Most High.

That secret societies believe Lucifer at least reached the second goal of exalting his throne above the seven archangels is found in George Washington's Masonic apron which depicts the Masonic all-seeing eye of Lucifer hovering above the seven stars. Secret societies also believe that Lucifer's third goal, that of ascending to the sides of the north, has yet to be accomplished. Consequently, every Masonic Lodge has its dark North because Lucifer, the angel of light, has not yet conquered that realm.

David Hocking in his book "The Coming World Leader" states that the seven stars are most likely the seven supernatural beings found in Revelation 4:5 and 5:6 called the seven Spirits and the seven eyes of God which run to and fro throughout the whole earth. Francis Davidson in "The New Bible Commentary" informs us that the designation of Christ holding the seven stars in his right hand is both an encouragement and a warning. First, it's an encouraging thing to be assured that Christ maintains the spiritual life of the seven churches. Second, although the seven angels are commanded by Christ to sustain the churches in combating the spirit of darkness, the same power that sustains is also capable of judicial removal.

The second phrase of Christ's characteristic, that is, "he who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks" vividly portrays Christ's presence as coextensive with the seven churches. This confirms his promise in Hebrews 13:5 that he will never leave us nor forsake us. Christ's commendation to the church at Ephesus is found in Revelation 2:2-3 and verse 6.

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. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

The first phrase "I know thy labour" speaks of the evangelical thrust of the apostolic church period. History confirms that while the apostles were alive the early church, having the least number of missionaries per capita, had sustained the greatest missionary movement to this date. Scripture also confirms this, Romans 10:18 states that "their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." Colossians 1:5-6 likewise bears record that "the word of the truth of the gospel" was preached in all the world." Colossians 1:23 also validates this fact saying "the hope of the gospel...was preached to every creature...under heaven." So we read in both Scripture and history that the apostolic church faithfully spread the gospel of Christ throughout the whole known world.

In the second phrase of Revelation 2:2 Christ speaks of the secret society that entered the apostolic church and was successfully excised. He says "I know 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." While the apostles were alive the main emphasis of the apostolic churches was to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. As the apostles died out two things followed: 1. Evangelism died with them; 2. A secret society produced false apostles to infiltrate the church. These false apostles claimed superiority over the original apostles, specifically over Peter and Paul.

Pagan mystery religions which promote licentious living have always claimed superior knowledge and have always denied the deity of Christ. This heresy had already begun to form in the Ephesian church even before John arrived in 70 AD. According to the historian Eusebius the apostle John confronted the heresy of Cerinthus, a man who held the dogma of the Ebionites that Christ did not exist before Mary, attempting with this heresy to nullify the deity of our Savior. In Revelation 2:2 Christ commends the Ephesian church for upholding his name with these words "I know thy thou hast borne, and hast patience...for my name's sake." St. Jerome of the 4th century shed more light on the successful battle the apostolic church waged against this secret society; he wrote that John was compelled by the bishops of Asia to write the gospel by his name to refute the heresy of Cerinthus.

The final phrase of Christ's commendation to the church of Ephesus is found in Revelation 2:6 "thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." Apparently the Nicolaitanes attempted to establish a priesthood within the church for the word in Greek means "to conquer the laity." All early church fathers agree that the Nicolaitanes held two serious heretical views: 1. That an ecclesiastical hierarchy was necessary to control the spiritual training of the laity; 2. That the spiritual and the physical natures were separate, giving license to sexual sin, the same licentiousness practiced in the heathen temple of Diana.

In Acts 20:28-30 Paul prophesied to the Ephesian church that following his death vile men from within their own flock would arise to teach perverse doctrine. Irenaeus, the Greek bishop and eloquent apologist of the city of Lyons during the latter half of the second century, was the first church father to suggest that the leader of the Nicolaitanes was the one called Nicholas in Acts 6:5. Nicholas was the last of the seven deacons appointed to distribute food to the widows of the church. This was not a position for a man unable to control his flesh. I quote bishop Irenaeus on Nicholas as saying "being ashamed of his own remissness Nicholas audaciously pronounced that no one who was not lascivious every day could be partaker of eternal life."

Whoever Nicholas was, his followers multiplied at an alarming rate during the second century. Not only did Irenaeus write of them but after him Epiphanius, Theodorit and other church fathers record that the Nicolaitanes "arrogantly styled themselves Gnostics; that they were superior to Peter and Paul or any of Christ's other disciples, they alone had drunk of the supreme knowledge, are above principalities and powers, secure of their salvation and for that very reason they claimed that they were free to debauch women or indulge in all manner of licentiousness. They further claimed that this knowledge is of itself perfect redemption and sufficient." To this end the Nicolaitanes "blasphemously talked lewdness to be obligatory as a law and not only lawful but necessary to salvation, not only compatible with the Savior's religion but an essential part of it."

The first part of the Nicolaitanes heresy was essential if the second heresy of licentious living was to take root in the church. They lobbied for an ecclesiastical hierarchy to control the spiritual training of the laity. In other words, if the word of God could be taken away from the laity, a priesthood would have total control over its interpretation thus leading the congregation into the same lifestyle of the pagan religions.

Christ commended the Ephesian church for its successful battle against the Nicolaitanes for history records that the apostolic church intercepted, tried and vanquished them. However, the focus of the church was altered with these battles which brings us to Christ's condemnation found in Revelation 2:4 — "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Whereas Christ first commended the church for diligently and successfully prosecuting heretics, he now condemns them for leaving their first love.

What possibly could Christ have meant by first love? The two key words in the phrase "left thy first love" will assist us in answering this question. "Left" does not mean lost and "first" does indeed imply a second. Their first love was not lost, it was left, it was abandoned, it was discarded for a more urgent love, a second love, that of defending the faith. To suggest that the phrase "left thy first love" refers to deity, in this case Christ, is to suggest that their second love also refers to deity, in this case a false Christ. This would imply that an apostasy occurred at Ephesus. Apostasy, however, does not correlate with the history of the first church nor does it correlate with verse 3 where it is written "for my name's sake" thou "hast laboured." In fact, the Ephesian church loved Jesus so much that they laboured to save the namesake of Christ, that is, his deity. In the end, they cast out the heretics, therefore, leaving their first love does not imply they left Christ because history records otherwise.

Revelation 2:5 sheds light on what is meant by the phrase "left thy first love." I quote Christ as saying "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." In verse 4 Christ says the church left its first love, then in verse 5 he tells the church to return to its first works. If first love and first works mean the same thing, then the second love of the church also refers to works, in this case, the works of defending the faith. Such an interpretation does correlate with the history of the Ephesian church. Christ did not condemn the Ephesian church for defending the faith, he commended it but was defending the faith what Christ commanded the church to do? What was and still is the primary work, the first work, the first love of the church?

We find the answer in Acts 1:8; the setting is just before Christ ascends to heaven. Gathered around the risen Savior are his disciples. He gives them this final command "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The only commandment Christ gave the church was to evangelize. This, then, is its first work, its first duty. History bears record that this is what the apostles did. In fact, it was not only their first work, but their first love, their only love. If Christ condemns Ephesian Christians in verse 4 for leaving their first love and then tells them in verse 5 to return to their first works, I suggest the phrase first love and first works both refer to the same historical evangelical thrust. Moreover, the lax attitude toward evangelism during the latter half of the Ephesian church period is also prophesied in the second definition of the name "Ephesus: to let go; to relax."

In summary, based upon Christ's command in Acts 1:8 to evangelize the world and based upon the historical evangelism of the Ephesian church period during the lives of the apostles, Christ's condemnation of leaving their first love suggests the condemnation of discarding their evangelical thrust in exchange for defending the apostolic faith following the death of the apostles. Christ strengthens this suggestion in Revelation 2:5 where he says "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works."

Was the church justified in defending the faith? Yes, for Christ himself commended them for it. However, the trials held to expose the false apostles and the battles fought against the Nicolaitanes so consumed the latter half of the Ephesus church period that evangelism was forsaken. This gave just cause for Christ's condemnation of the Ephesian church period. On the other hand, the powerful archangel over the Ephesian church could certainly have combated the spirits of darkness had the church continued its first work, its first love of evangelism. This, I believe, is the proper interpretation for we shall see this equation successfully in action as we study the sixth church, Philadelphia, the only church that was continually faithful in spreading the gospel. Only then do we find secret societies bowing down in submission to the power of the church.

Do we have Ephesian Christians today that are defending the faith at the expense of evangelism? To my dismay I was brought up in such a church. It was known in our community as an "againer" church. My father was the "againer" pastor. In his earlier years he preached evangelism and was a great personal witness of the redemption of Christ, leading thousands to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior. The church began to grow and a larger building was erected. In his latter years, however, my father forsook evangelism and became an embittered againer boldly speaking out against the liberalism that had pervaded the mainline churches. Church attendance began to drop off. When he died in 1978 his flock had dwindled to 10% of its glorious evangelical days. A lesson to be learned is that when a church discards its first love of evangelism and takes up the occupation of defending the faith, it will die.

Let's apply the characteristics of the Ephesian church to our own personal walk with Christ. Search your own heart as I ask these next questions. What is your first love? Is it evangelism or is it defending the faith? How many pastors today preach against liberalism instead of preaching the salvation message. How many laymen have picketed local nude taverns or abortion clinics? How many have written congressmen to vote against bills that are clearly antichristian and have complained about the general degradation of society? How many are more consumed with this secondary work, the secondary love of defending the faith than with the primary work of evangelism? If I as an individual Christian spend my time defending the faith at the expense of evangelism then I am an Ephesian Christian and all of Christ's commendations and condemnations apply to me personally. Which brings us to Christ's warnings found in Revelation 2:5 —

"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."

What does Christ mean when he says he'll remove our candlestick? First, we know that the candlestick bears light. Christians are the light of the world. Through evangelism this light of the gospel is spread throughout our neighborhoods, our cities, states, nations and the world. If Christ removes our candlestick because we are preoccupied with defending the faith, the light of evangelism goes out and instead of winning the lost of Christ by quietly speaking to them of his love and mercy we condemn them to eternal punishment with our picket signs. The wicked are all the more hardened in their resolve to reject the intolerable Christian faith. In the end the victor is Satan because we send the wrong message hence the light of the gospel has been extinguished.

Second, we know that the candlestick refers to the Ephesian church for in Revelation 1:20 Christ says "the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." If Christ removes the Ephesian candlestick, he means that he will remove the Ephesian church.

Third, when Christ warns the Ephesian church that he will come unto them quickly this warning is not like his return for the church which will be an exhilarating experience, but it is reminiscent of his coming in judgment at Armageddon. Therefore, Christ's warning to the Ephesians "I will come unto thee quickly" is a judicial coming to take action toward an assembly that has stopped evangelizing.

Christ's judgment of removing the light of the church can occur in two possible ways. First, when evangelism is discarded, the number of people attending the church will decline and the church will eventually die thus extinguishing the light. Second, when the main thrust of the church is defending the faith against false doctrine, the heretics who are cast out of the church will one day return to persecute the church which actually happened in the next church period of Smyrna thus removing the candlestick of the Ephesian church period through persecution.

This brings us to the eternal occupation of the Ephesian Christians. Found in Revelation 2:7 it reads "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the church; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." What is it in the Ephesian church that we must overcome? The answer is found in the obstacle for which the Ephesian church was condemned, that of defending the faith at the expense of spreading the gospel. Today if we find ourselves in the position of having to defend the faith yet we remain evangelical in word and deed during the process of defending the faith, we are indeed Ephesian overcomers and we will eat of the tree of life in paradise.

What kind of occupation is this? We must look at other scripture to find the answer. In Revelation 21:7 God says to us "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Revelation 1:6 informs us that Christ "hath made us kings and priests unto God." Revelation 5:10 expands on this by stating that Christ "hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign" with him on earth. This is fairly straightforward: in eternity some of us will have occupations as kings, others will be priests. Of some occupations, however, we must speculate and so it is with the eternal occupation of the Ephesian overcomer. He will eternally eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

To understand what this might possibly mean, we must look further into scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:9 informs us that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." In other words, our eternal occupation is greater than we can imagine. The overcomer during the Ephesian church period will eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. We can only speculate what that means yet according to scripture what we speculate we are assured that it will be better than that. So, let's speculate.

Some Bible scholars believe that the garden of Eden was the original paradise and that it is still in existence today. These scholars state that after the Fall of man paradise, or the garden of Eden, was possibly placed in the bowels of the earth and is where the righteous dead went before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. For example, in Luke 23:43 when the repentant thief on the cross requested of Christ "remember me when thou comest unto thy kingdom," Christ answered "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." We know that Christ after death went to the bowels of the earth for three days, therefore, by Christ's own words to the thief on the cross, paradise at that time was in the bowels of the earth.

As recorded in Matthew 27:52-53 when Christ was resurrected it is believed that with him paradise was taken out of the bowels of the earth to heaven. Proof that paradise is now in heaven is found in 2 Corinthians 12:4. The Apostle Paul informs us that paradise is in the third heaven; that he, himself, was taken their in either spirit or body—he didn't know which.

Please understand that what I say next is pure speculation but also remember that what we speculate, it'll be better than that. If this paradise is the original garden of Eden placed in the eternal heavens, it could be expanded to the size of a planet, a galaxy or even a solar system. Compare paradise with Hawaii which has been called the world's vacation paradise. I'd been there before the overcrowding and commercialization and to me it was truly paradise on earth. I can speculate that paradise in heaven would be the vacation spot for all eternity. Now consider the Ephesian Christian; his work is two-fold. To overcome he must simultaneously evangelize and defend the faith, a strenuous task, one that would deserve a long vacation, an eternal vacation in a place in heaven called paradise. Therefore, as Adam and Eve were caretakers of the original paradise, Ephesian overcomers may be caretakers of the heavenly paradise.

In the next message we shall discover the eternal occupation of the overcomers during the Smyrna church period. May God bless you as you read the scriptures ahead of each study.

We trust you have been blessed by the study presented by John Daniel. Mr. Daniel is also the author of another work, a trilogy of books entitled "Scarlet and the Beast." If you are interested in ordering "Scarlet and the Beast: A History of the War between English and French Freemasonry" write to us at JKI Publishing, PO Box 131480, Tyler, Texas 75713 or call toll free 1-800-333-5344 for an order form and a free chapter-by-chapter review.

Introduction | Tape 2

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