Biblestudytools.com, New International Version. Pergamum. with excerpts from the Revelation 1 - 3. The Jerusalem Church was scattered, and his writings to Rome would have been scrutinized. Which kind of church is best? One such section is at the very beginning, where John addresses the seven churches in Asia - an area in modern Turkey. They differ on how these churches may or may not apply to church history, including the modern body of believers. Modern Christians should study the example of these four churches, and even ponder their contemporary significance, but ultimately, they should strive to live in obedience with the Great Commission, and follow God’s leading. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968. We can avoid becoming “the living dead” by engaging in our faith through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. Here, Jesus asks for them to let Him in. These church ages are explained below. Significance Today: Like the Christians in Pergamum, it’s easy to normalize the non-Christian behavior of those around us and allow that behavior to dilute our values (1 Corinthians 15:33). While the other churches received some encouragement or commendation from the Lord, this church received no positive words. They epitomized a church that seemed good, but many had cold hearts toward the Lord. Jesus wanted this body of believers to continue as they were, and they would spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Jesus’ letter to Thyatira praises the church for having grown in faith and service (Revelation 2:19). Did God Send the Coronavirus as a Biblical Plague from Revelation? 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. What Do the 7 Churches in Revelation Represent? New religions and end of days cults have sprung up around some of these theories. 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). Christ’s revelation to Smyrna commends the community for its material poverty but spiritual wealth and acknowledges its wrongful persecution (Revelation 2:9). The first church mentioned is the Church of Ephesus. Pergamum: The church that needed to repent of sin (Revelation 2:16). We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. 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). 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. 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 Compromising Church ≈ 314 - 590 A.D. 4. 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. The church was not beyond hope, but it needed to find that passion for Christ again. Revelation’s seven churches were among a number of early Christian communities in Asia Minor. 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. A number of expositors down through history have held that the seven churches represent seven sequential stages of church history. Revelation, An Expository Commentary. All rights reserved. Significance Today: Like the church in Laodicea, it’s easy to become complacent in our faith during times of abundance. Who Are the Four Horsemen in Revelation? He wants them to grow hot or cold toward Him, but not to remain lacking in any passion toward the faith. 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. Others indulged in false doctrine. Significance Today: Just as some in Thyatira’s church were led astray by a false prophet, Christians today fall prey to cult leaders, occult practices, and other false teachings. Obviously the Seven Churches. What Is the Mark of the Beast in the Bible? The message ends with encouragement for those who did not follow this prophetess. However, the seven churches in Revelation also have spiritual significance for churches and believers today. These trumpets follow seven seals of judgements. Jesus does not reproach this congregation but condemns its persecutors. It’s another port city about forty or fifty miles north of Ephesus… Significance Today: The message to Philadelphia shows us the blessings that come when we maintain our faith despite life’s tribulations. Ephesus Smyrna Pergamos Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia Laodicea. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry. The first level is historical. Are there seven church ages? 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 Church that is Spiritually Dead (Revelation 3:1-6). They did receive consolation as well because many from this church had been martyred. Instead, Jesus reveals that a church fashioned in His image must teach God’s Truth in love. Walvoord John F. and Roy B. Zuck. 6. Proud member 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. 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. Revelation 1:20 (NASB95) Jesus explained what the images symbolize. The Church of Pergamum was surrounded by wickedness in their city, but they held fast to their beliefs. Some say they are merely representative churches of the … John’s “crime” was practicing Christianity. Some of these questions may not have good answers until the Lord returns. The periods overlap in a way that is messy, pro-Reformation, and can only be applied with difficulty in retrospect. 7. 1. “I know your works. Christ promises that if Philadelphia’s congregants remain faithful to Him, He will protect them from the “hour of trial” and make them pillars in God’s heavenly temple (Revelation 3:10-12). They were also in one of the central hubs of trade, commerce, and communication. These seven historical churches also serve as archetypes of churches all over the world throughout history. Ephesus, the Loveless Church. A critique of this perspective is that it is too vague, and general for such specific descriptions and prophecies. While they were doing well in an earthly fashion, they were spiritually lacking. There is one perspective that these messages only applied to those seven specific churches and the messages have no lasting significance. of They were … Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. The seven churches are the primary focus of the first three chapters of Revelation. Christian scholars from the second century to date have attributed the physical writing of Revelation to John the Apostle, son of Zebedee (Mark 3:17), and author of the Gospel and Epistles of John. Some of these cities do not exist today like they did during John’s day, such as Pergamum. 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). 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. Although the false prophet remained unrepentant, Jesus affirms that the congregation can still repent by turning away from the prophet’s ways (Revelation 2:21-22). The view is known as the historical-prophetical view: To The Church in Ephesus Smyrna in ancient times was a very wealthy and powerful city, indeed it vied with Ephesus and Pergamon for influence in… Smyrna is the second church mentioned in Revelation. 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 would suffer in this life, God had a reward for them. The advice in these letters is prophetic, forewarning present-day Christian communities of the … Alluding to the city’s history of prior surprise attacks, Jesus warns the congregation to “wake up” and repent, lest he “come like a thief” to bestow His judgment (Revelation 3:2-3). Ephesus: "The Era of Transition" (September 70 to 82 = 12 years) Revelation 2:1-7: (1) To the angel … The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) (Revelation 2-3). Seven is the number of perfection or completion in the Bible. 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 Church of Smyrna received words of comfort. Summary and Explanation: Thyatira was a wealthy commercial city. What action items should the church take in light of these seven messages? 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). What Are the Different End Times Opinions Amongst Denominations? A. Pergamum, The Worldly Church: This church was the tolerant church. Jesus calls on this church to stop these sins. Summary and Explanation: Ephesus was the prominent commercial and cultural center of Asia. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. 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. It was not a wealthy church either, with opportunities to flee and take refuge somewhere else. These seven churches really existed, and each was experiencing the particular problem to which the Lord referred as He dictated the letters to John. Most pastors teach that Jesus was just addressing the churches that existed at the time it was written in 95 A.D. 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." … Like Sardis, Laodicea had an abundance of resources but held an indifferent spirit - described as lukewarm - toward the Lord. 4. The seven churches are always mentioned in the same order: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Additions to part 2. While there are still some believers in these cities, they all exist in modern day Turkey, an Islamic nation. 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. The ruins of Smyrna’s marketplace are nestled in a city block of the thriving seaport … Barnhouse, Donald. Chapters two and three. 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. The "7 Churches" of the Revelation, and the Churches of today and questions of the oecumene -. To this church, Jesus commended them for their endurance, their longsuffering, and their dislike of false doctrine and evil behavior. Third, since both the challenge and promise with which each letter ends are pers… The answer lies in the realization that the letters of chapters 2 and 3 have a representative as well as a specific purpose. The city of Sardis was also a city of wealth, known for the carpet industry and for minting coins. Ephesus : the church that had forsaken their first love . The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 is a topic of much speculation. The seven churches are named for their locations. One of the criticisms of this theory is that it dismisses the prophetic nature of the messages, and reduces the significance of the prophecies coming from the glorified Christ. 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. 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). Some believe that the seven churches represent seven periods of church history or seven types of individuals that exist today. Biblestudytools.com, “Book of Revelation Summary.”, Biblestudytools.com, “Why These Seven Churches.”, Biblestudy.org, “The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 7.”. In fact, those who persevere despite weaknesses will stand strong as pillars in Heaven. Our Lord faults the church in Sardis for maintaining an outward appearance of being “alive,” while actually being spiritually dead (Revelation 3:1). Their location was so full of wickedness the Bible calls it, “where Satan’s throne is...the place where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:13). 3:8). The messages could have been easily passed onto other believers. Thyatira-Akhisar. Some theologians ascribe to a combination of these three theories, while others have their own, but these three are prominent. The advice in these letters is prophetic, forewarning present-day Christian communities of the snares that can lure us away from our faith. Wilmington, H.L. 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. 1 While we do not favor this view, it is instructive to understand the arguments for and against such a view since it will frequently be encountered by students of the book of Revelation. He chided them however, “...you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4b). Thyatira: The church whose false prophetess was leading … The Church that Follows False Prophets (Revelation 2:18-29). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971. Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer and editor. 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. The church’s downfall was its devotion to a false prophet that led some members to commit idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:20). 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. 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. We hope it can direct you toward scriptural truths about plagues and a study of the Book of Revelation. So why seven? Summary and Explanation: Laodicea was a prosperous industrial and commercial center. The seven churches are the primary focus of the first three chapters of Revelation. The payment for sin is death. 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. One church may have the hard work and patience of Ephesus, while another the lukewarm attitude of Laodicea. (Revelation 3:9). The Lord said, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Some criticism of this view include that it is difficult to line up certain movements in the church with the descriptions in Revelation. 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. Summaries and Explanations. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Wilmington’s Guide To the Bible. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. John was exiled to the Island of Patmos by the Roman Empire. Thyatira — The Adulterous Church (Revelation 2:18-29) Some Christians and churches feel a need to … However, the seven churches in Revelation also have spiritual significance for churches and believers today. Smyrna. Chart 17-1 lists fourteen occurrences of the number seven in Revelation. In Thyatira, the church was also having problems with false teachers. USA: Victor Books, 1984. Sardis was a seemingly active church, full of good works. 2. 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. Thru the Bible Vol. The Book of Revelation contains the prophecies of the last days, before the New Heaven and the New Earth go on into eternity, with believers living for their God with no sin, no sorrow, and no pain. The instruction given to Revelation’s congregations, therefore, is valuable to Christian congregations today. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1991. 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. One example of the use of the number seven in the Revelation given to John is the seven churches the text is addressed to. The seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches Jesus walked among. Ryrie, Charles. Much of the dialog is directed towards the leaders in the churches regarding the way the truth is being taught, or not. They can be read with four levels of application. The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were congregations of the Church of God in the first century. 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.. a.) The book of Revelation opens with seven letters to seven churches. Despite poverty and hardship, they stayed true to God. 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. Although John literally wrote Revelation, the Book makes it clear that the source of the revelations is Jesus (Revelation 1:1-2). The seven churches in Revelation are literal churches from the first century AD. Summary and Explanation: Smyrna was home to a large Jewish community hostile to Christians. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. Dolores Smyth’s work has appeared in numerous faith and parenting publications. In the first century A.D., the Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony near Asia Minor. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. 3. Nor does it seem to include Orthodox church movements. The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) (Revelation 2-3). Before we look at these letters as a whole, let’s briefly look at the seven cities where the recipients lived. To them, he gave this advice, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12). 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. You can find her on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth. The Church that Compromises Its Beliefs (Revelation 2:12-17). Philadelphia. The Lord Jesus commands John to write a message to each of these churches. 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). 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) 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. Theologians believe many of the laborers of this church were expelled from their labor guilds - and unable to legally work in their craft - because of their conversion. Revelation. It was also God’s divine will to communicate with these seven churches. However, the wealth and good works of this church meant nothing because the church was spiritually dead. Summary and Explanation: The city of Pergamum was renowned for its pagan practices. Salem Media Group. There was a woman in the church who claimed to be a prophetess, who committed sins of sexual immorality, and whose behavior was reminiscent of Jezebel, Ahab’s wicked wife, whose story is told in 1 Kings. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). What Does the Bible Say About Coronavirus: Is it a Sign of the End Times? They were mocked and persecuted for their faith, and it was going to get worse before it got better. 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). The seven churches are representative of the church as a whole; the number seven symbolizing completion or perfection. 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. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. 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). In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul answered some questions they had about the days. 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. 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. In the book of Acts, Lydia was a wealthy benefactress and convert to Christianity. 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. Significance Today: The lesson in the letter to Ephesus teaches that truth and love must go hand-in-hand. Knowing the challenges they were facing and how they were responding, He admonished them to repent of their mist… They most likely put their faith in their works, prideful and assuming they were saved, or in good standing with the Lord. 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). Should We Always Be Watchful for Jesus’ Return? In addition, the following articles may offer more encouragement for all to remember as we face the trials of COVID-19 together: Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Their Meaning and Significance During Apocalypse, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. In the letters He applauds and chastises each church and He offers them advice on how to get back on track. 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). 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. The Church that Patiently Endured Despite Weaknesses (Revelation 3:7-13). Ways of Christ. 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).

what are the seven churches in revelation

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