Friday, May 31, 2013


At the time the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, there were thousands of churches, and yet, Jesus selected just seven churches in Asia Minor to receive His letter of encouragement.  Five of the seven were encouraged to change (that is, repent:  Ephesus - 2:5; Pergamos - 2:16; Thyatira - 2:21-22; Sardis - 3:3; Laodicea - 3:19), and the other two were encouraged to continue, as they were pleasing to their Lord (Smyrna - 2:8-11; Philadelphia - 3:1-13).  Not only were the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia pleasing Christ, their main opposition came from Jews, who's synagogues were called "the Synagogues of Satan" (2:9; 3:9).  All seven letters reveal two things the churches have in common (whether they are encouraged to change or encouraged to continue) when it comes to their relationship with God: Jesus knows their works (2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15), and the Holy Spirit is speaking to all those who will listen (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:5, 13, 22).

Some Bible scholars believe that these seven churches were selected by Jesus because they not only existed during the time of the writing of Revelation, they also believe He chose them because they would picture historical periods from the time of the Church's beginning at Pentecost, until the Lord returns to meet His followers in the air (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).  Although the periods represented by each of the seven churches differs somewhat among the scholars, most would agree that each church appears to coincide with the experience of the Church throughout its existence:

Ephesus - Apostolic Church (30-100) - Busy organizing the Organization.
Smyrna - Persecuted Church (100-300) - Busy spreading the true Gospel of grace.
Pergamum - State Church (300-600) - Busy gaining political power.
Thyatira - Pagan Church (600-present) - Busy spreading a false gospel of works.
Sardis - Dead Church (1500-present) - Busy being divided / decomposing.
Philadelphia - Living Church (1800-present) - Busy being a faithful witness.
Laodicea - Apathetic Church (1900-present) - Busy playing church without Christ.

Ephesus lost its focus upon Jesus (2:1-7).
Smyrna was persecuted by Rome and the Jews (2:8-11).
Pergamum persecuted the Jews (2:12-17).
Thyatira is committing adultery with the government until Jesus returns (2:18-29).
Sardis is religious but spiritual dead; Jesus' return will catch them off guard (3:1-6).
Philadelphia is obedient to the Lord, who will return to "catch them away" (3:7-13).
Laodicea is a religious business exploiting the name of Jesus (3:14-22).

If you do not attend a "Philadelphia Church," you need to find one now!      


No comments:

Post a Comment