In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul answered some questions they had about the days. While the other churches received some encouragement or commendation from the Lord, this church received no positive words. 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. Despite their lack of spirituality, Christ waits expectantly for them to open their hearts to Him. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). Smyrna. The Church that Remains Faithful Amidst Persecution (Revelation 2:8-11). There is also the chronological perspective. 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. In the book of Acts, Lydia was a wealthy benefactress and convert to Christianity. Summary and Explanation: Laodicea was a prosperous industrial and commercial center. 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). Some say they are merely representative churches of the … Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971. 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. The seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches Jesus walked among. All rights reserved. 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). Ephesus: "The Era of Transition" (September 70 to 82 = 12 years) Revelation 2:1-7: (1) To the angel … Summary and Explanation: Thyatira was a wealthy commercial city. In the first century A.D., the Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony near Asia Minor. Revelation 1:20 defines the "seven stars" as the angels or messengers of the seven churches that are held in the hand of Jesus. The Church that Patiently Endured Despite Weaknesses (Revelation 3:7-13). Thru the Bible Vol. Their location was so full of wickedness the Bible calls it, “where Satan’s throne is...the place where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:13). Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Despite poverty and hardship, they stayed true to God. 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). These churches are located in Asia, modern Turkey, some believe they represent seven church ages, while others argue they represent seven … Summary and Explanation: Smyrna was home to a large Jewish community hostile to Christians. Philadelphia. The Lord calls on the community to repent or risk the judgment that will emanate from the “sword of [His] mouth” (Revelation 2:16). Some of these questions may not have good answers until the Lord returns. 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. Summary and Explanation: Sardis was a city that had endured two surprise attacks despite its fortifications. 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. Through the centuries, these churches have increased and decreased, and experienced persecution. What Does the Bible Say About Coronavirus: Is it a Sign of the End Times? 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 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 seven churches are always mentioned in the same order: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. While they were doing well in an earthly fashion, they were spiritually lacking. Significance Today: Like the church in Smyrna, Christians are persecuted worldwide in obvious and insidious ways. 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) He alone can infallibly interpret the symbols of the book of Revelation. 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 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). 3. So why seven? Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. They can be read with four levels of application. McGee, J. Vernon. The periods overlap in a way that is messy, pro-Reformation, and can only be applied with difficulty in retrospect. 6. The other point of view is that each church would represent different kinds of churches through history. This number shows the completeness of God’s wrath, as well as the perfection of His love throughout the Bible, and becomes a motif in the Last Days. Although John literally wrote Revelation, the Book makes it clear that the source of the revelations is Jesus (Revelation 1:1-2). The messages could have been easily passed onto other believers. The church’s downfall was its devotion to a false prophet that led some members to commit idolatry and immorality (Revelation 2:20). The Book of Revelation addresses seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor. The Lord reminds us in this revelation that He will repay each of us according to our deeds (Revelation 2:23). The Church that Compromises Its Beliefs (Revelation 2:12-17). Chapters two and three. The Church that is Spiritually Dead (Revelation 3:1-6). Dolores Smyth’s work has appeared in numerous faith and parenting publications. Thyatira. 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. Finally, John addresses the Church of Laodicea. 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. (Revelation 3:9). 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. The Lord said, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. 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.