Berean Bible Corner

CHRIST AND HIS SEVEN CHURCHES

Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea

Scripture reading: Rev.1:11-20

 

Introduction:   The infant Christian Church had a great start, but gradually went down

into a valley of spiritual darkness from where it went up into a glorious

victory

.

 

From Rev.1:17b -3:22 Christ speaks uninterrupted.

He speaks of Himself, self-revelation

He speaks of His church: a. what He knows

b. His warnings

c. Divine promises

 

John was told to write down, what he sees and what will happen hereafter

(1:19) which will shortly come to pass (1:1) and (22:6)

 

Three possibilities for understanding:

1 .Local contemporary, the 7 churches in minor Asia

2. The   personal one, the spiritual experience, ups and downs of the

believer.

3. History of the Christian church through the ages.

 

The church is not brick & mortar, but flesh and blood

 

ANALYSIS OF REVELATION 1-3:

 

I.  What Christ reveals of Himself:

A. In the introduction of the first chapter of the Revelation, a-c

 

  1. He is the  Great  I AM (1:17-20)
    1. I am the First and the Last
    2. I am He that lives and was dead
    3. I am alive for evermore

 

b.    I  have the keys of hell and death

hell = hades (NASB)

grave (Phil)

The One who has the keys has the power and the ultimate authority. `

 

  1. Seven stars in His hands, seven candlesticks surrounding Him

Stars are the angels 1:20

Through the angels of the churches He holds them firmly and safely in

His right hand. The church is safe in the hands of Christ

 

Candlesticks are the seven churches, 1:20

The church as a light in the world receives its light from Christ

 

Stars and candlesticks refer to light.

Christ the Light of the world, John 8:12

The church, the believers, the Light of the world, Matth.5:14

The church, when closely connected with its Head becomes a light in the world

As long as the church remains closely to its Head, Christ, the church will remain

a bright shining light in a world of darkness. See So. of  Sol.6:10

Read also Prophets and Kings, by Ellen G. White pp.722-725. On these pages she describes the church on her run towards victory in glory: The darkest hour of the church’s struggle with the powers of evil, is that which immediately precedes the day of her final deliverance. But none who trust in God need fear; (PK page 725)

 

B. How Christ introduces Himself when He writes His letters to the churches, a-g

 

a. Rev.2:1 He holds the stars/angels in His right hand, 1:17, 18, and 20.

Angels are subject to Him, Hebr.1:14   sent to minister

He walks in the midst of the seven candlesticks/churches.

Rev.1:13-15 person description:

clothed with a garment – His own  righteousness

His robe is white, He never sinned (2Cor.5:21), ours has to be washed

and be made white in His blood, Rev.7:14 & Isa.1:18

His robe is girt with a golden girdle, Eph.6:14 loins girt about with

                                Truth He is the Truth, John 14:6

 

b.    2:8  The First and the Last, the One who was dead and is alive.,1:17,18

He is eternal, the everlasting Father, Isa.9:6

 

c.    2:12 He has a sharp sword with two edges, see 1:16 out of His mouth,

The sword is His Word. Eph.6:17; Hebr.4:12

Rev.19:13 called the Word of God.

John 1:1-3, 14 the Word made flesh

The Word and Christ are one.

 

d    2:18  Eyes like a flame and feet like fine brass, 1:14,15

2 Chron.16:9 God’s eyes throughout the whole world

Countenance as the sun in its strength, Rev.1:16b

 

e.    3:1    He has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, 1:16

Isa.11:2 seven Spirits named

 

f.     3:7   He is holy, true and has the key of David

Isa.22:22 authority, see above, who has the key has the power and

the authority.

 

g..   3:14  The Amen, faithful, true witness, beginning of the creation of God

He is the Creator, everything begins with Him. John 1:3; Col.1:16

God is faithful, Lam.3:23; 1Thess.5:24

 

 

 

 

II   HE KNOWS EVERYTHING.

 

a. The positives

 

2 Tim.2:19 He knows who are His

Psalm 139:2 there is no place where we can hide ourselves

 

Seven times   I know thy works.

 

2:2   our labour, and patience, no place for evil and hypocrisy

vs.6 hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, false teachings

2:9   tribulation, poverty, blasphemy of false brethren

2:13 where thou dwells, holds fast my name, not denied my faith

2:19 charity, service, faith and patience

3:2   I know thy works

3:8   thou hast little strength, kept my word and not denied my name

3:15 I know thy works

 

 

b. The negatives

2:4         left their first love

2:14, 15 keeping the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes

what was first hated is now accepted

Numb.25:1, 2; 31:16 Balaam’s counsel.

Rom.12:1, 2 no compromise with the world.

2:20      Worship teachings of Jezebel

1Kings 16:31 Jezebel daughter of a Baal priest, Ethbaal

3:2         works not perfect, a name to live but are dead

3:16, 17 say I am rich, increased with goods, wretched, miserable,

poor ,blind and naked, also not cold nor hot, but lukewarm

 

Two churches with no negatives mentioned, nr.2 Smyrna and nr.6.

Philadelphia.

 

III  His counsel

 

2:5     repent and do the first works

2:10   be faithful unto death

2:16   repent

2:25   what you have, hold fast till I come

3:2, 3 be watchful, strengthen, remember, hold fast and repent

3:11   hold fast which thou hast

3:18    buy gold tried in fire, white raiment and eye salve

 

 

 

IV His promises for overcoming:

 

2::7        to eat of the tree of life

2:10, 11 crown of life and not being hurt of the second death

2:17      to eat of the hidden manna, white stone with a new name

2:26      power over the nations

3:5        clothed in white raiment, name not being blotted out, and name

confessed before the Father.

3:12      eternal pillar in God’s temple, will receive the name of God and of

Jerusalem the city of God.

3:21      sit with Christ in His throne, share His glory.

 

 

 

Summary.

A glorious beginning, loosing first love, getting into a deal with the world, introducing strange worship and doctrines, but turning around again, becoming a pillar in God’s temple and sitting with Christ on His throne

 

This can be the experience of the individual Christian, follower of Christ, but for sure has been seen in the past history of the Christian church through the ages.

 

God is faithful, He knows all, if we repent and turn around to Him, He will be true and faithful to make His promises come true for us individually. 2Cor.1:20; 2 Peter 1:4.

 

APPENDIX.

 

The historicist school of Bible Prophecy interpretation follows the following historical line of Christ’s letters to the seven churches

 

  1. The Ephesus period covers the first century

 

  1. The Smyrna period covers the  2nd and 3rd  century period which includes

ten years of severe persecution

 

  1. The Pergamos period covers the 4th and 5th centuries where the church

started to compromise and to introduce non biblical practices. See list of Roman Catholic Doctrines and when introduced, in the General Section

of this website.

 

  1. The Thyatira period is the time of the dark ages from the 6th century till

the 16th century when the Protestants Reformation came about

 

  1. The Sardis period is seen as the time of the Protestant reformation  and

covers the 17th and 18th century. In particularly the 18th century when the

protestant reformation was more dead than alive.

 

  1. The Philadelphia period is viewed to cover the time of the Advent Awakening of the 19th   century  .

 

 

7.   Laodicea covers the latter part of the 18th century going into the 21st

century. It is the last segment of the Christian church through the ages.

 

For more detailed information we recommend GOD CARES Vol. Two, The Message of Revelation, by C.Mervyn Maxwell Published by the Pacific Press.

 

 

Pastor Jan T Knopper

September 2007

Edited September 2010

Revisited August 2013

 

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