But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
After the birth pains have started with more to come, the second sign of the end of age will start with persecution of the church. The birth pains and persecution will both grow in intensity just like birth pains before the baby is born.
In Rev 2 and 3, only 2 churches – Smyrna and Philadelphia churches – remain faithful in the end times while the other 5 will likely compromise and apostatize to avoid the persecution by the state. These 5 churches, with the exception of Ephesus church, will be so deceived by the numerous false prophets in their midst. Though the Ephesus church tries to remain doctrinally correct and continue in good works, they have lost their first love – they will compromise on accepting homosexuality and other state mandates and sever their hand of fellowship with those who do not compromise. We are beginning to see such action now.
The Smyrna churches are outside the Babylonian or western capitalism states anyway in the Moslem and socialist states and are used to suffering. The Philadelphia churches are the smaller fellowship churches (without power and thus less conspicuous) that will come out of the compromised institutional churches in the Babylonian states probably due to betrayal and hatred for their fortitude on obeying God’s laws, or distress caused by rampant false teaching and blasphemous practices.
Though the Lord’s exhortation to come out of Babylon (with her luxurious living and very sinful excesses removing God’s universal laws on gender, marriage and sanctity of life) may cause the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches to suffer economically, but they will remain faithful and endure till the end. Their souls will be so tormented by the rampant sin they see around them and the terrible coldness of love of many.