Sardis can go from 1500 to 1700 by Larkin. Dr. Ruckman puts it earlier, he puts it at 1000 to 1500.
Sardis means red ones. During that time, it was definitely a day, and see where there was bloody persecution and the torturous inquisition was infamous that time, especially if you study the Spanish Inquisition. That was the worst type of inquisition and it was contemporary during the time of Sardis there things really got red and bloody.
We saw the previous persecution under Thyatira and Smyrna, Sardis continues its red bloody persecution.
You should definitely read Foxes’ Book of Martyrs, it will definitely convict you. One of these people, his name is Savonarola. He would preach against the pope and the wrongdoings of the Catholic church. One time, this group of bishop and priest came by to him and said that they’re willing to give him a cardinal’s hat. Savonarola said to them, ‘If I want to take a cardinal’s red hat, I’ll take a red hat of blood instead’. So truly it was a red bloody day and age. They held him to his words, so they tied him against the stake and burnt him alive. They said, ‘I separate you from the church of Rome’ while he was burning. Savonarola said ‘You can separate me from the church militant (church down here), but you can’t separate me from the church triumphant (church up there)’.
Revelation 3:4 “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.”
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments;”
It was a dead church day and age, that’s why it was known as Dark Ages. Despite that, they had a few names who are still alive and they did not corrupt their own garments that they were wearing.
The names that you saw were Savonarola, Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Erasmus, Peter Waldo, etc. These people stood up against the Roman Catholic church at that time period and they prevailed against the devil’s system.
The verse says that they did not defile their garments. What does that mean? Look at the next part.
“and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.”
These people are worthy enough that they’re clean in the garment, that they can walk with Jesus in white garments.
Our white garment is going to depend upon our own works, Christian’s righteousness (not Christ’s righteousness which for our salvation).
Look at Ephesians 5, notice that the bride of Jesus Christ is wearing white garments but notice how you keep yourself white, unspotted, unwrinkled, unblemished in your garments.
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
In verse 25, the bride of Christ is referring to the church.
Notice that when we receive this white garment unblemished, it’s dependent upon the cleansing of the word. As the book of John says, ‘Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.’ So how is your life abiding by the word of God? Depending on how well you abide by the word of God, then your garments are going to be clean.
What’s going to happen with the blemishes? Ecclesiastes 12 mentions that God will bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil. How well are your works for Jesus Christ? Aren’t we going to be judged and cast into hellfire for our bad works? No. Our work will be dependent on abiding by the word of God, and obviously, there’s going to be good and bad works. So then how is Jesus Christ going to present Himself a church without having a spot or wrinkle? By washing it with the word. Here’s the idea.
1 Corinthians 3:13 “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
There’s going to be a fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. These works are going to be cast into the fire and it will test if it’s good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:14 “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”
You get a reward if it’s good.
1 Corinthians 3:15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
But if it’s bad, it’s a loss. Notice right here that you are not burning in hell, the fire has not touched you. So it’s only your work that is burned, not your soul.
That’s why it makes sense that Jesus Christ can now present to Himself a bride, the church, without spot or wrinkle at Ephesians 5, because she went through a cleaning process here.
Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Notice that the bride is now ready. That’s proof the bride had to go through some preparation process here.
Why would she be made ready? Because of 1 Corinthians 3, if she’s ready, that’s why Revelation 19:8 says “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”. Look at these white garments, it’s not referring to the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s based on your own righteousness. There is no doubt that you will be going through a preparation process where God has to test you for your righteousness.
Revelation 3:18 “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.”
This verse is utmost proof that all these other verses that we looked at, 1 Corinthians 3, Revelation 19, and Ephesians 5, all match up.
In 1 Corinthians 3, if your work is good in the fire, you’re going to have gold, silver, and precious stones.
Not only that, the latter part of the verse indicates that if you do not have enough righteousness in your garments, that you are going to be naked. We are going to see a bunch of naked people at the Millennium because your garments depend on your righteousness. The reason why God does that is so that it can be more shameful and the Lord can give proof to people that ‘See this is a child that has not been serving me well’. You better make sure that your righteousness is really good, otherwise, we’re going to see a bunch of naked people at the Millennium.
Revelation 3:5 “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 overcometh,”
If you overcome. That’s another tribulation phrase again.
“the same shall be clothed in white raiment;”
This means that the tribulation saints are also going to be receiving this white garment. Notice the verse behind it, ‘for they are worthy’, it may sound right here as reference to tribulation saints who are working for their salvation and they have to prove that they are worthy to walk with Jesus. If they don’t then they can be cast out.
In the parable that Jesus talked concerning the wedding, He talked about people dressed in white garments who are able to participate in the wedding but one of them was not wearing a white garment so then Jesus said, ‘Friend, where’s your garment?’. The person didn’t answer and the Lord cast that person into hell.
So this white garment could be dependent upon a salvation issue but it will not apply to us. Why? Because we don’t burn in fire in 1 Corinthians 3. But for tribulation saints, it can be for them. Their salvation is different from our salvation. Christian’s salvation under the church age is faith alone, not works. Tribulation salvation is faith and works because you have to resist temptation and persecution from hell itself. And when you’re starving to death, you can’t give in to the temptation and sin. But we got so many Christians today who are denying Jesus Christ already and who are not willing to go through torture and pain for Jesus Christ. According to tribulation salvation, you’re not really saved then. Obviously, that salvation does not apply to us, otherwise pretty much everybody lost our salvation.
“and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,”
So that’s definite proof this has to do with salvation right here. Notice that tribulation saint’s name could be written in the book of life, but then erased.
If some smart-aleck wants to try to use this verse to make you Christians doubt your salvation, there’s an easy answer to that. Dispensationalism. It means rightly dividing verses to the right group of people at the right time period. So this verse applies to tribulation saints in the tribulation timeline, not Christians in the church age.
If you want to use this verse as a Christian application, you can argue it this way: this verse is not a threat because the verse did not say ‘I will blot out his name’, it says ‘I will not blot out his name’, so this is a verse of assurance, confirmation that God says ‘I will never erase your name from the book of life’. That sounds like eternal security.
But remember that there’s a double application.
A doctrinal application would be referring to tribulation saints. If they continually walk in white garments, in their righteousness, their names cannot be blotted out. But if they don’t, then the name could be blotted out, erased. Moses mentioned that to God, he said if You can’t forgive these people, the Jews’ sin, then blot out my name. Notice that the book of life can be erased.
A Christian application is that it is impossible, we are eternally secured. We have the assurance that our names are written in heaven. We are a new creature in Christ. 1 Corinthians 3 showed you that you will not burn in hell even if your works are bad. Not only that, our work is founded upon the work of Jesus Christ. He did all the work, absolutely none of our righteousness, if any of our righteousness, will count towards salvation. Our works are only going to be relating to fellowship, not to salvation.
“but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
If this tribulation saint overcomes the Antichrist day and age, his name will also be confessed before God and His angels.
You want to mark this verse down because there are verses in the book of Matthew where Jesus said, if you deny me before a man, I’m going to deny you before my Father and His angels. If you’re ashamed to confess My name, I’m also going to not confess your name before My father and His angels. People infamously use those verses to prove that Christians can lose their salvation. Those words that Jesus used match perfectly with Revelation 3:5. Remember, what time period does the book of Revelation apply to? It’s the tribulation. Revelation is about end times prophecy, not church age.
Since this is a doctrinal application to tribulation, this is obviously a tribulation thing, not Christian. When Jesus said about denying Me and confessing My name before men, that is referring to tribulation Jewish aspects. Why? If you look at Matthew 25, Jesus did not confess their name, Jesus said I never knew you. That was a tribulation parable.
Another example is the second part of Matthew 25 about Jesus Christ coming down on His throne and He said, You took care of me so then He confessed their name before men. But then the other people, He denied their name saying that you did not take care of me. The people said when did we take care of you or when did we not take care of you, and Jesus said it’s because of how you treated these brethren. If you treat these brethren well, then you’ve treated me well.