Their location was so full of wickedness the Bible calls it, “where Satan’s throne is...the place where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:13). Usually, when a group of seven things are mentioned, the order has some relevance. The Church of Pergamum was surrounded by wickedness in their city, but they held fast to their beliefs. Significance Today: The message to Philadelphia shows us the blessings that come when we maintain our faith despite life’s tribulations. Proud member God has given this woman, and the church, time to turn from this sin; “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality” (Revelation 2:21). Additions to part 2. We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. Sardis. Significance Today: Like the church in Smyrna, Christians are persecuted worldwide in obvious and insidious ways. The names of the seven churches of Revelation are symbolic names and represent the church down through the ages from the beginning of the New Testament church, right to the end at the second coming of Christ Jesus, and reveals the condition of the church at different periods in history. The seven churches are named for their locations. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Jesus calls on this church to stop these sins. The Roman Catholic Church ≈ 590 - 1517 A.D. The seven early churches … Ephesus. Some believe that the seven churches represent seven periods of church history or seven types of individuals that exist today. Obviously the Seven Churches. The Lord had seven messages to give before He revealed the visions of the End Times to John, which set the pattern of seven throughout the book. Instead, Jesus urges us to keep seeking the Lord’s face even after His hand has bestowed riches in our lives. Salem Media Group. “I know your works. The first church mentioned is the Church of Ephesus. What Do We Know about the Shepherds at Jesus’ Birth? In Thyatira, the church was also having problems with false teachers. The Revelator says plainly that the seven golden lampstands (obvious symbols) ARE the seven churches, and He identifies those seven churches as “seven churches which are in Asia” (1:11). The seven churches in Revelation are literal churches from the first century AD. Summaries and Explanations. Thru the Bible Vol. Each letter, as proclaimed by Jesus and recorded by John the Apostle, declares the triumphs and failings of the recipient churches and warns each congregation to repent. The Seven Churches (Revelation 2-3) (Past and Present Church Prophecy) Introduction Although the ‘seven churches’ are not used for proving ‘pre-tribulation’, they are extremely important nonetheless. The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) (Revelation 2-3). Finally, John addresses the Church of Laodicea. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. with excerpts from the Revelation 1 - 3. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. The message is, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God” (Revelation 3:2). Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. EDITOR'S NOTE: This previously-written article has become a resource for many seeking to understand if the Coronavirus pandemic is an End Times plague. So why seven? Despite its hard work and doctrinal integrity, Christ faults the community for having “forsaken the love [they] had at first” (Revelation 2:4). You can find her on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth. Here, Jesus asks for them to let Him in. For example, Revelation 2:1 says, "The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands." The seven churches also represent the seven spiritual church ages from the New Testament church, right through to the last church before Jesus returns at the second coming. The Lord said, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. One example of the use of the number seven in the Revelation given to John is the seven churches the text is addressed to. Revelation 1:20 defines the "seven stars" as the angels or messengers of the seven churches that are held in the hand of Jesus. The Church that Follows False Prophets (Revelation 2:18-29). 2. John was not far from 100 years old, and the only remaining Apostle. The seven churches are the primary focus of the first three chapters of Revelation. There is also the chronological perspective. What Do the 7 Churches in Revelation Represent? The seven churches of Revelation described in Revelation chapters 2 through chapter 3 are seven literal churches at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. Summary and Explanation: Philadelphia was home to a synagogue community hostile to Christians. However, there were members of the church who still held onto their former traditions, not willing to let go of their idols. They were also in one of the central hubs of trade, commerce, and communication. Still others spend their entire lives attempting to interpret this final prophetic word from the Lord. (Revelation 3:9). This letter warns all Christians that although we may suffer greatly, the length of tribulation will be short compared to the promise of eternal life. Although the seven letters in Revelation are tailored to the named churches, these churches and their stated deficiencies can symbolize all churches in one respect or another. Thyatira-Akhisar. The advice in these letters is prophetic, forewarning present-day Christian communities of the snares that can lure us away from our faith. The Compromising Church ≈ 314 - 590 A.D. 4. Some believe the seven churches are only relevant to people living in the 1st century A.D. Others believe the seven churches are relevant today. The Church that is Spiritually Dead (Revelation 3:1-6). The first level is historical. The messages could have been easily passed onto other believers. They can be read with four levels of application. These trumpets follow seven seals of judgements. of Some of these cities do not exist today like they did during John’s day, such as Pergamum. The short letters in Revelation chapters two and three are addressed to these specific seven churches: Ephesus: The church that had abandoned its first love for Christ (Revelation 2:4). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971. The instruction given to Revelation’s congregations, therefore, is valuable to Christian congregations today. Jesus’ letter to this church wastes no time denouncing the congregation for its lukewarm faith, threatening to “spit” the congregation out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). The book of Revelation opens with seven letters to seven churches. The seven churches are the primary focus of the first three chapters of Revelation. What Is the Mark of the Beast in the Bible? Indeed, the primary purpose for John writing his letters to the seven churches was to deliver Christ’s “report card” for the churches of that time. There were seven stars and seven lampstands. The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 is a topic of much speculation. Who Are the Four Horsemen in Revelation? Those who repent will be given the “hidden manna” that is the grain of Heaven (Psalm 78:24), and a “white stone” or clean slate with a new identity in Christ (Revelation 2:17). Biblestudytools.com, “Book of Revelation Summary.”, Biblestudytools.com, “Why These Seven Churches.”, Biblestudy.org, “The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 7.”. Does the Candy Cane Have a Spiritual Meaning? A church that upholds doctrinal purity at the expense of showing love is just as flawed as a church that upholds congregational harmony at the expense of truthful teachings. They differ on how these churches may or may not apply to church history, including the modern body of believers. 3:8). 3. The "7 Churches" of the Revelation, and the Churches of today and questions of the oecumene -. The Bible notes that slanderous accusations by Jews against Christians had led to Christian persecution by Roman authorities (Acts 14:2, 19: Acts 17:13). Christ’s revelation to Smyrna commends the community for its material poverty but spiritual wealth and acknowledges its wrongful persecution (Revelation 2:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1991. The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were congregations of the Church of God in the first century. Those who persevere in faith, however, will receive a share of Christ’s messianic authority over all nations and triumph over death (Revelation 2:26-28). The Church that Remains Faithful Amidst Persecution (Revelation 2:8-11). There are also seven angels blowing seven trumpets which herald seven judgments. Summary and Explanation: The city of Pergamum was renowned for its pagan practices. The messages to the church played their part in God’s perfect plan historically, and may still be a part of it currently, depending on which view of the Book of Revelation and the churches an individual takes. There is one perspective that these messages only applied to those seven specific churches and the messages have no lasting significance. They most likely put their faith in their works, prideful and assuming they were saved, or in good standing with the Lord. The other point of view is that each church would represent different kinds of churches through history. Ways of Christ. These seven churches were some of the most prominent churches at that time to which John the Apostle would have been close enough to communicate effectively. We can avoid becoming “the living dead” by engaging in our faith through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. He alone can infallibly interpret the symbols of the book of Revelation. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7): known for having labored hard and not fainted, and separating themselves from the wicked; admonished for having forsaken its first love (2:4); Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11): admired for its tribulation and poverty; forecast to suffer persecution (2:10) John was exiled to the Island of Patmos by the Roman Empire. All rights reserved. Ultimately, Christians should meditate on these things, but not allow the unanswered questions to dictate their lives. Those in Sardis who heed Christ’s warning will be “dressed in white,” a symbol of purity and victory, and will be acknowledged in Heaven’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). He wants them to grow hot or cold toward Him, but not to remain lacking in any passion toward the faith. This “forsaken love” can mean that the Ephesians had become less devoted to Christ or that the work they did was no longer motivated by love for one another. Instead, Jesus reveals that a church fashioned in His image must teach God’s Truth in love. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. Pergamum, The Worldly Church: This church was the tolerant church. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. The seven churches are always mentioned in the same order: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Smyrna — Izmir. Some criticism of this view include that it is difficult to line up certain movements in the church with the descriptions in Revelation. To this church, Jesus commended them for their endurance, their longsuffering, and their dislike of false doctrine and evil behavior. Much of this prophecy is shrouded in description that can be confusing, and many theologians debate the extent of what is symbolic and what is literal in the visions described by John the Apostle. “ Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Despite poverty and hardship, they stayed true to God. The Church that Patiently Endured Despite Weaknesses (Revelation 3:7-13). Third, since both the challenge and promise with which each letter ends are pers… Barnhouse, Donald. Significance Today: Today, Christians can fall into the trap that ensnared the church in Sardis if we merely go through the motions of practicing our faith without really feeding our spirit. Jesus’ letter to Thyatira praises the church for having grown in faith and service (Revelation 2:19). Ephesus, the Loveless Church. Jesus wanted this body of believers to continue as they were, and they would spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Ephesus: "The Era of Transition" (September 70 to 82 = 12 years) Revelation 2:1-7: (1) To the angel … However, the seven churches in Revelation also have spiritual significance for churches and believers today. Which kind of church is best? Located in Asia Minor (now modern Turkey), these churches represented actual communities of early Christians—not buildings or meeting halls.In addressing each of these congregations, God said that He knew their works. A. Knowing the challenges they were facing and how they were responding, He admonished them to repent of their mist… McGee, J. Vernon. … In fact, those who persevere despite weaknesses will stand strong as pillars in Heaven. 1. THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION — Introduction — Untold numbers of professing Christians have been taught, as I was, that the seven churches of Revelation are somehow related to the body of Christ. The stars = the angels of the seven churches The church was not beyond hope, but it needed to find that passion for Christ again. In the first century A.D., the Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony near Asia Minor. 58: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5). The Temple and city of Jerusalem had been destroyed, and the Jews dispersed 26 years before, and John's attention was called to the condition of the "Seven" representative churches … The periods overlap in a way that is messy, pro-Reformation, and can only be applied with difficulty in retrospect. Christ warns us in this revelation that he will “spit out” lukewarm disciples. The Church at Ephesus received a letter, the Book of Ephesians, from the Apostle Paul. It’s been almost 2,000 years since the apostle John was instructed by Jesus to write letters to the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. The Church that Compromises Its Beliefs (Revelation 2:12-17). This number shows the completeness of God’s wrath, as well as the perfection of His love throughout the Bible, and becomes a motif in the Last Days. The seven churches in Revelation are literal churches from the first century AD. Chapters two and three. They no longer had the burning, consuming passion for their God they had when they were first saved and settled into the routine of the faith. They were mocked and persecuted for their faith, and it was going to get worse before it got better. Although they refused to deny … It also only includes a western perspective; it does not take into account movements in Africa, Asia, or South America. However, I doubt that the order of the churches has any particular theological importance.That’s not to say that the order is random either. The Lord reminds us in this revelation that He will repay each of us according to our deeds (Revelation 2:23). Chicago: Moody Press, 1968. Revelation 1:20 (NASB95) Jesus explained what the images symbolize. The Church with a Lukewarm Faith (Revelation 3:14-22). The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) (Revelation 2-3). Question: "What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for?" Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) This letter addresses Sardis, a “dead” church3 Jesus’ oracle to Ephesus challenges a loveless… These seven historical churches also serve as archetypes of churches all over the world throughout history. Thyatira — The Adulterous Church (Revelation 2:18-29) Some Christians and churches feel a need to … The message ends with encouragement for those who did not follow this prophetess. Summary and Explanation: Smyrna was home to a large Jewish community hostile to Christians. Christ praises the Philadelphians for remaining faithful in the face of trials despite their limited strength (Rev. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). One such section is at the very beginning, where John addresses the seven churches in Asia - an area in modern Turkey. Some of these questions may not have good answers until the Lord returns. Smyrna. The city of Sardis was also a city of wealth, known for the carpet industry and for minting coins. The ruins of Smyrna’s marketplace are nestled in a city block of the thriving seaport … It was also God’s divine will to communicate with these seven churches. These churches were seven real churches at the time, and some believe they represent seven church ages, while others argue they represent seven church types that have existed since the church began, and will exist until Christ returns. He encourages them to find that fire again and continue where they were doing well. In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul answered some questions they had about the days. However, the seven churches in Revelation also have spiritual significance for churches and believers today. Like Sardis, Laodicea had an abundance of resources but held an indifferent spirit - described as lukewarm - toward the Lord. They were … Jesus Christ is the infallible Revelator. Nor does it seem to include Orthodox church movements. Ephesus : the church that had forsaken their first love . These particular seven churches may have been chosen to receive Christ’s apocalyptic message because, geographically, the churches were located along an established, circular trade route that brought together the most populous and influential parts of the province. Are there seven church ages? Thyatira. 7. Jesus does not reproach this congregation but condemns its persecutors. What Are the Different End Times Opinions Amongst Denominations? However, the wealth and good works of this church meant nothing because the church was spiritually dead. To share in Christ’s victory, we are to avoid these “so-called deep secrets” of Satan (Revelation 2:24) and hold firm to Christ’s teachings. They epitomized a church that seemed good, but many had cold hearts toward the Lord. This Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible study will show you how the 7 churches of Revelation represent seven Church eras that have spanned throughout history, and end when the Lord returns.. Laodicea. Summary and Explanation: Thyatira was a wealthy commercial city. The Lord calls on the community to repent or risk the judgment that will emanate from the “sword of [His] mouth” (Revelation 2:16). Despite their lack of spirituality, Christ waits expectantly for them to open their hearts to Him. 5. Some theologians ascribe to a combination of these three theories, while others have their own, but these three are prominent. The letter to the Ephesian church does offer the community hope if they repent and rekindle their love for Christian living (Revelation 2:5-7). 6. Once the apocalyptic message was given to the churches in these prominent cities, the message would spread to the Christian communities in the rest of the province. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. Smyrna in ancient times was a very wealthy and powerful city, indeed it vied with Ephesus and Pergamon for influence in… Summary and Explanation: Laodicea was a prosperous industrial and commercial center. Only one of the churches is in another part of the Bible. The letter then addresses the church’s sin by denouncing some of its members for following false teachings that brought about religious and moral compromise (Revelation 2:14-15). Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 1981. Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; The number ''seven'', The Bible numeric, this is the number of perfection. Although John literally wrote Revelation, the Book makes it clear that the source of the revelations is Jesus (Revelation 1:1-2). Each letter, as proclaimed by Jesus and recorded by John the Apostle, declares the triumphs and failings of the recipient churches and warns each congregation to repent. While they were doing well in an earthly fashion, they were spiritually lacking. Pergamum: The church that needed to repent of sin (Revelation 2:16). In the book of Acts, Lydia was a wealthy benefactress and convert to Christianity. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). All rights reserved. Revelation. What action items should the church take in light of these seven messages? Christ’s letter to the Ephesian church praises the congregation for its “deeds...hard work...and perseverance,” and for its rejection of false apostles (Revelation 2:2-3). Before we look at these letters as a whole, let’s briefly look at the seven cities where the recipients lived. The seven churches are representative of the church as a whole; the number seven symbolizing completion or perfection. Christ scolds this church for allowing its economic prosperity to cause it spiritual bankruptcy and reveals that, despite its economic wealth, only He can provide spiritual wealth (Revelation 3:17-18). ; Smyrna: The church that would face severe persecution (Revelation 2:10). The seven churches listed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are seven actual letters from Jesus — one to each church. The view is known as the historical-prophetical view: 3. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. It was not a wealthy church either, with opportunities to flee and take refuge somewhere else. Biblestudytools.com, New International Version. Ephesus Smyrna Pergamos Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia Laodicea. Philadelphia. Each of these periods can be traced and assigned to a specific phase of the growth and change of the body of Christ over time, from its inception, to its decline before Christ’s return. They did receive consolation as well because many from this church had been martyred. Some say they are merely representative churches of the … Significance Today: The lesson in the letter to Ephesus teaches that truth and love must go hand-in-hand. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. To The Church in Ephesus These seven churches really existed, and each was experiencing the particular problem to which the Lord referred as He dictated the letters to John. Those in Laodicea’s church who open the door to Christ will share in His Heavenly banquet and have the right to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:20-21). The Church that Has Abandoned Its Love for Christ and His Teachings (Revelation 2:1-7). Indeed, the primary purpose for John writing his letters to the seven churches was to deliver Christ’s "report card" for the churches of that time. But the Bible urges us to “not conform to the pattern of this world” but be transformed by the renewal of our mind in accordance with God’s Word (Romans 12:2). While in Patmos, John was seized by the Holy Spirit and received prophetic visions from Christ instructing him to: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea” (Revelations 1:1-2; 9-11). The seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches Jesus walked among. The primary role of these letters concerns what was actually happening in each of the seven local churches that existed during the time of John’s writing. They are represented by seven golden lampstands, and the seven angels – or messengers – of the churches, represented by seven stars in the right hand of Jesus. In the letters He applauds and chastises each church and He offers them advice on how to get back on track. 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