They were … They were mocked and persecuted for their faith, and it was going to get worse before it got better. Revelation 1:20 defines the "seven stars" as the angels or messengers of the seven churches that are held in the hand of Jesus. 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. Summary and Explanation: Thyatira was a wealthy commercial city. Some of these cities do not exist today like they did during John’s day, such as Pergamum. 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). The other point of view is that each church would represent different kinds of churches through history. Usually, when a group of seven things are mentioned, the order has some relevance. 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. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Ephesus, the Loveless Church. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 1981. Christ warns us in this revelation that he will “spit out” lukewarm disciples. 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). Some theologians ascribe to a combination of these three theories, while others have their own, but these three are prominent. What action items should the church take in light of these seven messages? A critique of this perspective is that it is too vague, and general for such specific descriptions and prophecies. We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. He encourages them to find that fire again and continue where they were doing well. John’s “crime” was practicing Christianity. 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.. Summary and Explanation: Ephesus was the prominent commercial and cultural center of Asia. Ephesus: "The Era of Transition" (September 70 to 82 = 12 years) Revelation 2:1-7: (1) To the angel … The church’s downfall was its devotion to a false prophet that led some members to commit idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:20). 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. The seven churches in Revelation are literal churches from the first century AD. 58: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5). One church may have the hard work and patience of Ephesus, while another the lukewarm attitude of Laodicea. Sardis was a seemingly active church, full of good works. 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. Ryrie, Charles. These seven cities in the Roman province of Asia, in modern-day western Turkey, were the most important of western Anatolia. 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. You can find her on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. 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). We can avoid becoming “the living dead” by engaging in our faith through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971. Barnhouse, Donald. 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). Our Lord faults the church in Sardis for maintaining an outward appearance of being “alive,” while actually being spiritually dead (Revelation 3:1). The Lord Jesus commands John to write a message to each of these churches. So why seven? 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 first century A.D., the Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony near Asia Minor. These seven churches really existed, and each was experiencing the particular problem to which the Lord referred as He dictated the letters to John. The seven churches are always mentioned in the same order: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The seven churches are named for their locations. What Does the Bible Say About Coronavirus: Is it a Sign of the End Times? 4. Instead, Jesus reveals that a church fashioned in His image must teach God’s Truth in love. Their location was so full of wickedness the Bible calls it, “where Satan’s throne is...the place where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:13). 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. Summaries and Explanations. The seven churches are representative of the church as a whole; the number seven symbolizing completion or perfection. The church was not beyond hope, but it needed to find that passion for Christ again. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Despite the church’s love, patience, and endurance, they tolerate this wicked woman taking an inappropriate role of leadership, giving false prophecies, and being flagrantly sinful. Still others spend their entire lives attempting to interpret this final prophetic word from the Lord. The Church that is Spiritually Dead (Revelation 3:1-6). Like Sardis, Laodicea had an abundance of resources but held an indifferent spirit - described as lukewarm - toward the Lord. 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. USA: Victor Books, 1984. Chapters two and three. What Are the Different End Times Opinions Amongst Denominations? The three approaches to understanding these churches all agree they were existing churches that received copies of the Revelation at that time. 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 Church that Compromises Its Beliefs (Revelation 2:12-17). California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The Church that Has Abandoned Its Love for Christ and His Teachings (Revelation 2:1-7). 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) 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. 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. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry. McGee, J. Vernon. 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). They epitomized a church that seemed good, but many had cold hearts toward the Lord. 5. (Revelation 3:9). Despite poverty and hardship, they stayed true to God. Summary and Explanation: Philadelphia was home to a synagogue community hostile to Christians. Despite their lack of spirituality, Christ waits expectantly for them to open their hearts to Him. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. 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.
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