THE CHURCHES OF THE REVELATION
Rev. 1:1-20 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: (2) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (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; (5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (9) I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (11) Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (12) And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; (13) And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (14) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; (15) And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (16) And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (18) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (19) Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (20) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Bishop Usher dated the Revelation to have been written by John in 96 A. D. That would certainly mark it as the last book in the canon to be received. That places the document some 20 plus years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Because this destruction is not mentioned anywhere in the Revelation men with a lot of letters after their names that don’t spell anything have doubted the authenticity of The Revelation. Speaking from the human perspective, those who doubt the Revelation almost universally agree that, if John had written it at that time, he would have certainly mentioned something as significant as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
But this is ACTUALLY proof that John was not the author of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, Himself was!!! And He did not mention the destruction of Jerusalem because that was an historical fact that was not significant to His purpose, which was to prepare His church for the things that would occur on earth until His Return. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;” Any human author would almost certainly have mentioned the destruction of Jerusalem as being of significance to the fulfillment of prophecy. The sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple were significant events in History. But it was only important to the Jews. Jesus had told them nearly 100 years prior to The Revelation that their house had been left to them desolate. (Matt. 23:38) Thus, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were not relevant facts to the Revelation.
Jesus identifies himself to John as, “the first and the last., and as, “he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Jesus identifies himself to John in a fashion that assures him that the vision he is seeing is that of his Savior whom he saw ascend back into heaven, “he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John”
In prophetic scripture the number seven signifies a thing as Holy or complete. All of the things numbered seven in the Revelation are Holy, and because they are Holy, they are also complete. While the messages were certainly delivered to these seven churches at the time John was shown The Revelation, it is also certain that the messages were for His Church through out the age, and thus, were types that we should look for in our churches today. As such, we should endeavor to understand these churches not as individual assemblies in any period, but as signifying the characteristics that distinguish within the body of His Saints as the age proceeds. Therefore, with the exception of the Church at Philadelphia, in every generation there will be members of every church as the Gospel is spread over the Earth. It is certain that the Church at Smyrna can be seen all through the age. It is just as certain the church at Philadelphia will only appear again as the age comes to a close because Jesus has promised to keep this church from the testing that will come upon the entire earth.
These churches show the degree of carnality, spirituality, discipline, and growth of the individual Christian in any generation and places them within such a Church. The reason the Church at Philadelphia does not appear until the end of the age is because that Church is the only Church Jesus promised to keep from the testing that was to come upon all the world at the end of the age.
There is significance in how Jesus identifies Himself to each of the churches. His message to that particular church will have something to do with either his admonition or his admiration for each church. In the two cases where He had no words of admonition, To the church at Smyrna He introduces Himself as, “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; ” Jesus told the Smyrnans they would have tribulation for ten days. Ten is a number of completeness, There were ten curses with which Moses cursed Egypt, there ten virgins in the parable of the virgins and the oil, there were Ten Commandments, etc. Jesus told the Smyrnans they would have tribulation until the completion. Jesus introduced himself to the Smyrnans in a fashion that would assure them that even though they should be killed for their testimony, they would never die. The church at Smyrna is seen through out the age when any congregation or Christian is subjected to any kind of trouble from the culture in which it exists.
The word, “tribulation,” is translated from the Greek word, “Thlipsis,” which literally means, “pressure.” Anyone or anything that is putting pressure, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, on the Body of Christ anywhere is subjecting them to Tribulation. Any church being subjected to such pressure is represented by the church at Smyrna, regardless of how the times would otherwise identify that Church. For example, when any individual, local assembly, or an entire fellowship. that could otherwise be identified as existing when the dominate characteristics of the church at time as that of Sardis, then those suffering such tribulation will belong to Smyrna if the tribulation is because of their Faith in Jesus Christ.
Cultural pressure is extremely difficult for the individual to resist. To be sure, there are those who consider themselves to independent thinkers, non-conformists in every generation. But they can just as easily be identified as rebellious. The desire to be accepted is as universal as that to be loved. It only changes the objects of its desire as the person ages. Cultural pressure is the reason there are so many teen age suicides today. Cultural pressure defines each succeeding generation and it is certain that it is inspired by the demonic forces of Satan.
Though it should not be so, Cultural pressures form within Church Congregations. Cliques form and outsiders leave to find acceptance elsewhere, Cultural pressures form because of the lack of agape and failure to repent of the world within individual Christians and Congregations.
To the church at Laodicea, He introduces himself as the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; This church has to understand that Jesus is the only Truth. He was the beginning of the Creation. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Joh 1:1-4
Laodiceans are those congregants who believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis are myths or allegories. That God did not really create all things, but that they came into existence by natural means through Evolution. Much more will be said of the Laodiceans on the page for their church.
The Power to Love
1 Pet. 4:8-9 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall
cover the multitude of sins. (9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Rom. 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isa. 45:22-23
1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1 Cor. 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.