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
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
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
- He is the Great I AM (1:17-20)
- I am the First and the Last
- I am He that lives and was dead
- I am alive for evermore
b. I have the keys of hell and death
hell = hades (NASB)
The One who has the keys has the power and the ultimate authority. `
- 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
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.
III His counsel
2:5 repent and do the first works
2:10 be faithful unto death
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.
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.
The historicist school of Bible Prophecy interpretation follows the following historical line of Christ’s letters to the seven churches
- The Ephesus period covers the first century
- The Smyrna period covers the 2nd and 3rd century period which includes
ten years of severe persecution
- 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.
- The Thyatira period is the time of the dark ages from the 6th century till
the 16th century when the Protestants Reformation came about
- 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.
- 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
Edited September 2010
Revisited August 2013