The Seven Churches

 

The Island of Patmos is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). This is where John wrote the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse which contains a message for the seven churches in Asia.

Revelation 1:9
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Island of Patmos where the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation or Apcalypse.
Island of Patmos

Revelation 1:10
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

Seven Churches in Asia
Map of the Seven Churches in Asia

Revelation 1:11
saying "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."

The Apostle John saw a vision of the future and was commanded to send it to the seven churches in Asia Minor.

In the time of John all these churches spoke Greek and were inhabited mostly by Greeks. The seven churches form a horseshoe pattern on the map. From the Island of Patmos, Ephesus is the closest church.  To visit all seven in order you go in a clockwise direction from Ephesus.

Revelation 1:12
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;

Revelation 1:13
and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.

Revelation 1:14
His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.

Revelation 1:15
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

Revelation 1:16
In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

Revelation 1:20
"As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven STARS are the ANGELS of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

After explaining to John that the seven stars are the seven angels, Yeshua/Jesus goes on to state the message He wants to be delivered to each of the seven angels.

We must see the difference when the message is to the angel, or when the message is to the church.

The people that made up those churches (congregations) are long dead, but the angels....they are spirit beings and they are still alive.

1. EPHESUS

Revelation 2:1
To the ANGEL of the church in Ephesus write: "He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands says these things: 

Revelation 2:2
"I know YOUR works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can't tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. 


1. Ruins of Ephesus Library

Revelation 2:3
You have perseverance and have endured for my name's sake, and have not grown weary. 

Revelation 2:4
But I have this against you, that you left your first love. 

Revelation 2:5
Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent. 
    
The words of Jesus to the ANGEL are "repent ... or else ...I will move YOUR lampstand ... Remember that the seven stars are the seven angels, and that the seven lampstands are the seven churches.  Therefore Christ is saying He will remove the angel's lampstand (church/congregation) if he does not repent.

Here we see that angels can fall, if they do not do the work they were commanded to do.

Revelation 2:6
But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the CHURCHES. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

Now we see that this part of the message is for the congregation, and Jesus points out the difference. "...to the churches: To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."  Of course, angels do NOT need to eat of the tree of life, because they are already spirit and do not die.

This message of hope (to be able to eat of the tree of life and live forever) is to ALL the churches, not only to Ephesus.

2. SMYRNA


2. Ruins
of Symrna Agora

Revelation 2:8
"To the ANGEL of the
church in Smyrna write: "The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things: 

Revelation 2:9
"I know your tribulation and  poverty --but you are rich--  and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 

Revelation 2:10
Don't be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. 

Here Jesus is saying that some were going to be thrown to prison and that those faithful unto death would be rewarded with the crown of life.  This part therefore refers to the churches.

Revelation 2:11
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes won't be hurt by the second death.

Christ is making the distinction that this part of the message is for the churches.  The hope of the Christians is in the first resurrection -- the resurrection to life.  Those that overcome do not fear the second death, which could occur to those that are resurrected in the second resurrection --the resurrection to judgment.


3. Pergamum

Revelation 2:12
"To the ANGEL of the assembly in Pergamum write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: 

Revelation 2:13
"I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 


3.
Ruins of Zeus' Temple (Satan's Throne) on top of hill. 

On top of that mountain in Pergamum is where the Altar of Zeus (Seat of Satan) was.  This Altar was built in the 2nd century BC,  and it was still standing at the time that the Apostle John wrote those words.


Model of Altar of Zeus in Berlin

Today, the only ruins that remain of the Altar of Zeus are the arches which support the court yard upon which the altar was built.

A model of what the Altar of Zeus looked like is in a museum in Berlin as the photo shows.

Revelation 2:14
But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 

Revelation 2:15
So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans in the same way. 

Revelation 2:16
Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 

Now Jesus switches His message to all the churches.  

Revelation 2:17
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.

He tells us that if we overcome, we will be able to get the hidden manna.  God will feed us in the same way He fed the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt.

4. Thyatira


4. Thyatira Ruins

Revelation 2:18
"To the ANGEL of the church in Thyatira write: "The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things: 

Revelation 2:19
I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first. 

Revelation 2:20
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commi
t sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 

Revelation 2:21
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 

Revelation 2:22
Behold, I will throw her into a sick bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribula
tion, unless they repent of her works. 

Revelation 2:23
I will kill her children with Death, and all the churches will know that I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 

Revelation 2:24
But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as don't have this teaching, who don't know what some call 'the deep things of Satan,' to you I say, I don't lay on you any other burden. 


Revelation 2:25
Nevertheless that which you have, hold firmly until I come. 

Revelation 2:26
He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him will I give authority over the nations. 

Revelation 2:27
He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father: 

Revelation 2:28
and I will give him the morning star. 

Revelation 2:29
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 

5. Sardis

Revelation 3:1
And to the ANGEL of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 

Revelation 3:2
Wake up, and fix the things that remain, which were ready to die, for I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God.


5. Ruins of Sardis 


Revelation 3:3
Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If ever therefore not you should stay awake, I will come as a thief, and you won't know at what hour I will come upon you. 

This message is still for the Angel of Sardis.  He is the one that needs to say awake and alert the church at the time that Christ is to return.  If that angel does not stay awake, the church that he is overseeing will not know the hour when Christ is to return.  Remember the Angel of Sardis is still doing his work, but the church of Sardis is long gone.

Revelation 3:4
Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 

Jesus finished his message for the angel and then He switches to the congregation.

Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes will be arrayed in white outer garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 

When Christ says "He who overcomes" He is referring to the members of all the churches.

Revelation 3:6
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 


6. Philadelphia


6. Ruins of Philadelphia

Revelation 3:7
To the ANGEL of the church in Philadelphia write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and that shuts and no one opens, says these things: 

Revelation 3:8
I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn't deny my name. 

Not all angels have the same power.  Some have greater glory than others.  The Angel of Philadelphia, although he has little power, he has not denied the Lord Yeshua; he is keeping the word of God and nobody can close the door to the publishing of his message.

Revelation 3:9

Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 

In reference to those that say they are Jews but are not, we must understand that there are some so-called Jews who by their actions denied their faith.  We only pray to God that, as He promised, those "Jews" will come to know their Lord Yeshua and will turn to him in earnest.

Besides, some so called Jews are not descendants of Abraham: they are converted Jews of the nation of Khazar.   


Revelation 3:10
Because you kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which is to come on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 

Revelation 3:11
I come quickly. Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown. 

The Angel of Philadelphia is promised that he will be kept from the hour of trial which is to come on the whole world.  This is possible because the Angel is still alive since the time John wrote those words.  The members of the Philadelphia church on the contrary, are long dead and buried, and that message does not apply to them; the message is for the Angel.  The hour of trial will come shortly on "those who dwell on the earth" and hopefully, the Philadelphia Angel will be doing his work of helping Christians avoid that temptation.

Then Jesus switches to the people who overcome.

Revelation 3:12
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and the new name of mine. 

Revelation 3:13
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 


7.Laodicea

Revelation 3:14
To the ANGEL of the church in Laodicea write:
"The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God's creation, says these things: 

Revelation 3:15
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.

Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 


7. Ruins of Laodicean Theater

Revelation 3:17
Because you say, 'I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 

Revelation 3:18
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

These words are said to the angel because Laodicea was a rich city known for its eye salve (collirium).


Laodicean Coin

Revelation 3:19
As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 

Those words Jesus said to the Angel of Laodicea.  This angel is lukewarm, and is not doing his work.  Jesus is prodding him to be zealous and repent.  Then Jesus switches his message to anyone who "hears my voice and opens the door".

We hope that you, who are reading these words, will open the door to Yeshua/Jesus our only Saviour, and our soon coming King.

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. 

Revelation 3:21
He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 

Revelation 3:22
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Our prayer to our Holy Father is that you will accept  His message of salvation and pray for His coming Kingdom.  Jesus' words are  clear, if we overcome the temptations on this earth, we will be able to rule with Him for all eternity.

The message sent to the seven churches also contained the rest of the words written in the scroll that was sealed with seven seals.  To know the message inside the scroll, go to:  Timeline for Revelation.

 

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