There is a teaching that started with William Branham that the seven letters written to the seven churches in Revelation also represent seven different church Ages, as well as, the seven different churches they were written to. He even has divided these Ages by dating them.
The four Gospels that are in the Bible also represent four different church Ages. It is believed by scholars that Mark's gospel was written first of the four. Then Matthew, and after his, Luke. They also believe that Matthew and Luke used Mark's gospel as a foundational model to write their own. Since these three Gospels had such similarities, they were named the synoptic gospels. This is the definition of synoptic:
1. presenting a summary or general view of a whole
2. presenting or taking the same point of view; used especially with regard to the first three gospels of the New Testament
Long after these three were written, John wrote his. His was much different than the other three. He included many stories and sayings of Jesus that the other three did not. He covers a broader time line of Jesus' ministry than the others. The first three cover basically the final year of Jesus' ministry, whereas John covers about 3-1/2 years. It also appears that the chronological order of events in John don't agree with the other three.
It is also interesting to note that the four different gospels are put in the Bible in the order it was believed they were written. That is with the exception of Matthew. Matthew and Mark were reversed, Matthew is first, and Mark is second; even though Mark was written first and Matthew second. The reason this was done by the architects of the Bible is because Mark was clearly written to the Gentile believers in the Roman Empire. It was worded in a way that it could be understood by gentiles, using gentile metaphors, and explaining Jewish terms as if the readers were not Jewish but gentile. John Mark may have written his gospel based on Peter's teachings while they were in Rome right before Peter's death.
Whereas Matthew was clearly written to Jews, using language and terms that were understood by the Jews. So by design, they reversed the order of the two gospels in the Bible because the Gospel was first presented to the Jews; it only seemed fitting to put Matthew first. Then historically the Gospel spread to the Gentile world. Mark's gospel was most relevant for that time period because it was tailor written for the gentiles.
This order actually causes all four gospels to line up into four different Church Ages.
The First Age was when Matthew's gospel was relevant. It was the age where the Jewish believers comprised of the majority of the Church. During that time the Jewish church leaders ruled the whole church. Even though as time went on the gentile church grew much larger than the Jewish church; the Jewish church in Jerusalem was considered the authority over the whole church. As the Jewish believers in Jerusalem dwindled down to just a couple of hundred, and with the death of James the Church leader, and the destruction of Jerusalem in the mid 60's, the power of the church shifted to the gentile church. It was on the rise both in relevance, authority, and numbers. It became the relevant church at the time. It was at this time, the next age of the Church was born.
The Second Age was when Mark's gospel was relevant. The Church now was almost exclusively the gentile church. Mark's Gospel was addressed to them and used wording that was relevant to their understanding and issues. Unlike the short lived First Age, Mark's lasted hundreds of years.
The Third Age was when Luke's gospel was relevant. Luke, you could say was influenced by Paul. However, Luke was a scholar and a doctor. When he wrote his gospel he was meticulous about being factual. He spent three years in Jerusalem interviewing many of the eyewitnesses and family members of Jesus. It is in his gospel we hear of things like Mary going to Elizabeth's home and hear how both their babies leaped in the womb when the two women met together while pregnant. As any good scholar, accuracy and facts were the important concerns behind Luke's gospel. The Age when Luke's gospel became relevant started with Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant Reformation.
In the 15oo's, these Church leaders defined the theology and church government that we still operate under today. These great men rose up against the Roman Church leaders and its Popes who misused their power and positions perverting the Christian way. To challenge the Roman Church and the Pope was heresy and punished by torture and death. These bold and scholarly men laying their lives on the line needed an authority greater than the Pope in order to challenge them showing them not from God. They got that authority from the written word. Thus began the Age of Luke. They began a theology that the written word (the Bible) is the highest and final authority when it comes to interpreting God or His will for individuals or for the Church. Until this time, it was not the case. It was these men that revered the Bible up to this status of elevation. No longer was it in the hearts of men that interpretation of the will of God was discerned, but in a factual scholarly way we looked for God in the written word. The church had evolved into a rule keeping faith, based on performance. Note: at this time things in the church had reached the point where not individuals, but it was practiced that only the Pope could hear and discern and interpret both God and the written word. To challenge this meant excommunication or death.
Through elevating the written word as these men did, our relationship with God became knowledge based and intellectual. Not to mention our relationship was with the word in our head more than with God in our hearts. In other words, a soulish relationship with God. This was a departure from how the New Covenant that was practiced from the time of Jesus until these men used the written word to bring Christianity back on course by giving the written word this status. It might seem strange for me to say this because the reason Luther broke from the Catholic Church was because he realized we are accepted by God through faith and not works. So, this reformation was supposedly a departure from legalism. It was a small step towards that direction, but it actually caused us to have an intermediate between us and God (the written word). This, not unlike when the Lord was King of Israel and had judges in the land, but Israel insisted on having a human king. They created an intermediate between them and God, their King.
These great men of God helped spark the badly needed reform of the church back to first-century values with the Protestant Reformation. It was paid for with much blood. However, it could be argued that they hurt the church as much as they helped it. If one was to simply read the New Covenant promise God made to us, they would clearly see we have turned away from the New Covenant practices only to return to the Old Covenant practices.
You see, if you follow God by listening to your conscience you can never do what your sin nature wants to do unless you out right betray your conscience. On the other hand, Romans tells us very clearly that the written word can be used by man as a moral cover to do what his selfish ambitions and sinful desires want to do. Which is a far cry from doing the will of God, even if it does help the spread of the gospel.
Ro 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity and getting a hold on me [by taking its incentive] from the commandment, beguiled and entrapped and cheated me, and using it [as a weapon], killed me.
In the Book of 2 Corinthians, Paul says the same thing. It says the real reason that Moses wore a veil across his face was to cover up the fact that the glory on his face was fading. What the writer of Hebrews was trying to say when he paralleled this to people who follow the written word was...when people follow the written word it is a veil that hides the fact that the glory of God inside their hearts is fading. When they keep the written word they have the appearance of being morally good, but inside their hearts they do not have spiritual union with Christ.
2Co 3:6-18 [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive. [Jer. 31:31] Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministration of the Law], was inaugurated with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away, [Exod. 34:29-35] Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory? For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]! Indeed, in view of this fact, what once had splendor [ the glory of the Law in the face of Moses] has come to have no splendor at all, because of the overwhelming glory that exceeds and excels it [ the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ]. For if that which was but passing and fading away came with splendor, how much more must that which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor! Since we have such [glorious] hope (such joyful and confident expectation), we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly. Nor [do we act] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing [splendor which had been upon it]. In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away.Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts. But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). [Isa. 61:1, 2] And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
Our sin nature wants so bad to have expression to its desires that we use the written word to justify giving expression to it rather than use it to marshal it. The Bible tells us that the written word not only has no power to help prevent this, but it was not made for this purpose. Giving expression to our sin nature under moral cover is an impossible thing if we listen to Jesus' Spirit in us through our conscience which has been made sensitive to His touch. This is why Paul said this:
1Co 2:4-5 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [ a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions (a struck conscience) and thus persuading them], So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God (to convict your conscience).
In the End-Times Revival there will be a wave of the Spirit that comes in power that will take away the stoney heart of sinners and make their conscience so incredibly tender and sensitive that even if they love to sin; they can no longer tolerate sinning because it will make their heart so sick and in pain. Furthermore, their consciences will be so sensitive and tender that no one struck by the Spirit will be able to even have secret sin in their hearts. They will groan and wail and be torn inside until they confess to anyone who will listen and vomit out of their hearts whatever secret is hidden in their hearts. Good preaching will account for very little. However, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit will be the fire that drives the End-Times Revival, and will turn men's hearts towards God. So if one was to pray for the End-Times Revival to come, it would be good and in line with it to pray that God would strike the consciences of men to be convicted.
In these contemporary times during the age of Luke, it is taught that the written word is the first and final authority. It is also taught that how God witnesses in our hearts is second in prominence to the written word. Furthermore, that the heart is to be ignored if it does not line up with the written word. This is completely backwards to the teachings of the New Testament practices. According to the New Covenant it is in the individual's heart that the Holy Spirit will witness and guide him, even cause him to obey God. It says in the New Testament that the written word is good for helping people know God and for admonishing them. But in no way did the writers of the New Testament have an inkling that their writings would be elevated to the status they are; nor that they would be revered and adhered to more than what God speaks to each man in their own hearts. In fact, in Hebrews it says that you can't even start practicing the ways of the New Covenant until the ways of the old one (following the written word) are dispensed with.
Heb 8:13 When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.
Ever since Constantine organized the Church government and modeled it after a secular government the Holy Spirit has had less and less influence in guiding church leaders. And the infrastructure of the church became further and further away from how Jesus designed it and carried it out through His apostles.
The Lord has shown me that this Cancer is so deep in the infrastructure of the Church that it is an impossible thing to straighten it out. The spiritual outlook and perceptions of church leadership and its framework are so ruled by the spirit of this world, its wisdom, and the ways of Jezebel that no matter how much time would be given it, it will not return to first-century values and reunite as one. He further showed me He is going to inflict a Jeremiah 23 on His people one more time. This is why the church is predicted in the Bible to fall under great persecution before the world comes to ruin. Discipline starts in the House of the Lord.
The Church receiving this very message whether given by me or anyone else is its last chance to stop the Lord from striking it with His scepter, shattering it, and scattering His sheep; then bringing them back together under "Responsible Shepherds".
Jer 23:1-4 The Righteous Branch “I will send disaster upon the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of leading my flock to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from wherever I have driven them. I will bring them back into their own fold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds to care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one of them will be lost or missing,” says the LORD.
Wide spread conformity to this message will return the church to first-century values uniting the church back together and making His bride pure and spotless. These current days are the end of the Third Age of Luke's gospel influence. The days of the by the book scholarly and theological practice of Christianity is over.
The Final Age when John's gospel is relevant has begun. It is the Age of Spiritual Union. Not only that but modern prophets say that it is the end of the 7th Church Age when Jesus will spew luke-warmness out of His mouth, tolerating nothing but true and real spiritual union with Him; and not an intellectual relationship with Him through a book, as holy as it is.
It is interesting that John, out of the four gospels, does not quote any of Jesus' parables. Parables were used by Jesus to hide the full meaning of His teachings so that only those who had faith in who He was, and those who had a desire to grow in Kingdom knowledge, would interpret and/or find out the hidden meanings. What makes this fact about John's gospel interesting is that he encrypts or veil's his true teachings about Jesus with the story of Jesus. He does this without the use of parables Jesus spoke. This is why, I believe, John had little regard for putting events in chronological order as the other Gospels did. Because he was more interested in creating this secret second layer of teaching through the use of (what I call) discourses while telling the story of Jesus in Jesus' own words. It is genius! Here's an example, John creates a discourse of how Jesus is the bread of life and we need to ingest Him into our spirit which is the opposite and remedy of having ingested the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil into the human spirit. John starts this long discourse by the telling of the feeding of the five thousand. Afterwards they cross the lake, the people follow at which time Jesus tells them they only follow Him because of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, and that they never understood His miracles (a hint to John's readers to look for a deeper and hidden meaning to the miracle feeding). He then goes on to announce, He is the bread of life, and the true manna from Heaven; that if anyone eats Him they will never die. Now, even though this discourse about the bread of life seems like it is one fluent discourse given at one time, it starts at one side of the lake and then the other. Moving on in the room of the temple where collections are taken, then a third time and place is hinted. John wasn't worried about details like chronological order, or when and where something was said by Jesus as Luke would be a stickler about. No, John gleaned the things Jesus had said on different occasions and put them together for us to help us clearly understand a point John is trying to teach us about Jesus.
Here is another example; in John's gospel, the last discourse which tells about the event of the last supper really is a hidden discourse teaching about spiritual union with Jesus. Not only is the teaching of spiritual union veiled with the story of what happened that night, but the wording further hides the meaning of the teaching.
John quotes Jesus as saying elsewhere in his gospel that he has no agenda, but My Father has a plan and I do the work He gives me to do; I only say what the Father tells me to say; I don't judge but if I did, I judge as my Father judges; My teaching is not my own but that of the Father. All this ending at the Last Supper with, have I been with you so long that you don't know me? If you have seen me you have seen the Father; I and the Father are one, He is in me and I am in Him.
John is showing us that Jesus is in spiritual union with the Father. Also, that their relationship is the model for spiritual union. Jesus has the Father's Spirit, and although He was made in the likeness of man and He possesses His own soul in a man's body, He is motivated and responds to life by acting out the Father's will as an act of love and freedom. Therefore, since He does not do His own will and is obedient to the will of His Father as inspired by the Father's own Spirit in Jesus, that makes Jesus the actual embodiment of the Father, who Jesus said is Spirit. Thus, if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father in bodily form.
John goes on with this hidden discourse about spiritual union by quoting Jesus as saying things like; its better for you that I go to the Father, because I will ask Him to send the Holy spirit (the Comforter). He is really saying, it's better for you that I die. Then I will ask the Father if I can come back in a disembodied form so we may be closer than ever through spiritual union. Both of us living together in your body. Again He says;
Jn 14:17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Jn 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Jesus is talking about Himself coming back to the world in a disembodied form and residing in the believer through the same spiritual union He enjoys with His Father. Listen to His prayer:
Jn 17:20-26...I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.
The Four Secret (veiled) Teachings of John's Gospel :
-Jesus is not from this world and does not perceive or experience life the way that anyone on Earth does and you need a new grid to understand Him.
-Jesus is the Bread of Life sent down from heaven to save us by ingesting His Spirit
-This is how the judgement works
-Spiritual union (salvation through marriage to Jesus) and what that looks like
The Fourth Gospel Age that we are moving into is markedly different from the one we are coming out of. It is the Age that turns us into the pure and spotless bride, bringing us in perfect harmony with each other as the Body of Christ through understanding and relating to Jesus in abandoned spiritual union. This Age will bring about the return of Christ to His bride.