Following the Thyatira era was the period of church history represented by the church in Sardis. To this church I wrote: 'These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.' (Rev. 3:1). After many centuries of entrenched apostasy, the Sardis era dawned with the raising up of the great reformers who protested the abuses and falsehoods of the Roman system. The scriptures began to be opened to them and they began to speak the truth with power. The discovery of printing and the invention of the printing press also enabled them to print and distribute portions of the scriptures to multitudes of people. In time a mighty movement was sweeping across the formerly Catholic dominated countries of Europe, and that which was later known as Protestantism was born. That is why I spoke as the one who 'has the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars.' For the first time in hundreds of years there was a large scale spiritual awakening: a coming forth from slumber and dark­ness. The seven stars indicate the coming forth during that time of a true spiritual ministry, and the seven spirits portray the working of the spirit of revelation and power. Thus it was fulfilled that the church of the reformation had a name that lived; but immediately following I said 'and are dead.' (Rev. 3:1). Why?


Although the reformers broke away from the dead forms of the Roman church, they very soon began to establish church systems patterned after their Catholic mother. Although avoiding the complete centralization of power, they began to erect hierarchies of authority by means of man-made denominational councils and clerical bodies of various kinds. There was also a further turning to the ‘arm of flesh' by entering into the church-state relationship in various coun­tries. A further deadening influence came from the creedal battles which ensued for many years. Thus that which had sprung forth as a living movement gradually became crystal­lized into well-established and organized denominations with rigid lines of demarcation, and fixed creeds and forms. There­fore did I speak: 'Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.' (Rev. 3:2-3).


The fact that I spoke of my coming ‘as a thief’ indi­cates that the Protestant denominations, along with their Catholic mother, will not be expecting my return, but will be taken completely by surprise. There are a few, however, who will be ready. Of them did I speak: ‘You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.' (Rev. 3:4). Their garments, which they have kept undefiled, are their inner soul garments. Originally washed in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 1:5, 7:14), they have been kept continually white and pure through obedience to the truth, and the washing of the water of the Word (I Pet. 1:22, Ephes. 5:26-27). They shall ‘walk with me in white' by being received of me when I come as a thief at the beginning of the tribulation period, and by being clothed with their glorified bodies.


As in the other letters, a further promise was given to the overcomers. 'He that overcomes, 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.' (Rev. 3:5). The white raiment mentioned here symbolizes the glorified bodies with which the translated saints will be clothed. On its own plane such a body glows with the soft white light of the glory of God. When manifesting on the earth plane and appearing to those yet in the flesh, the glorified body vibrates to the pitch of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39) and is as tangible as any flesh and blood body; but its sustaining principle is no long­er the life in the blood, which links the body with the earth and its elements, for the very life-substance of God sustains it and relates it to the plane of divine life and light. It is because the overcomer is so clothed that I am able to confess his name before my Father and before His angels. None ex­cept those so clothed will ever be ushered into the presence of the most high God. And to them is the added assurance given that under no circumstances will their name ever be removed from the book of life. They will be sons of glory, manifesting the life and light of God on their own plane, but also ministering to and watching over those who are yet on the earth plane. They shall be joined by a great host at the close of the tribulation as many more overcomers put on their garments of light and glory, to be united with me in joint-heirship and joint-rulership of all that is mine. (Rev. 7:9-17).