Monday, February 25, 2013

The Seven Churches of Revelation

Written by: Gail Green

The Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation

We certainly live in the days Daniel spoke of in Chapter twelve verse four: But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge (all knowledge) shall be increased. True to God’s Word many are coming to understandings of things that were once thought to have been interpreted sufficiently and coming to understanding of things that have never been understood.  One thing that is being understood that hasn’t been known is the seven churches of the book of Revelation.  The interpretation that is accepted by the majority is that those churches represent seven different dispensations in the history of the church but I believe them to be seven different aspects of the kinds of people who are in the church today and in times past. I am not alone in my beliefs as you will see in the video following this article. I and others believe that when John wrote to the churches he was not writing to seven different churches but he was in fact writing to the church as a whole.
Note: I added the words "all knowledge" to Daniel 12:4 in the first paragraph because some people are under the impression that Daniel only meant knowledge of the Bible. It is certainly true knowledge of the Bible has increased but we cannot put a limit on the word knowledge considering the vast amount we are privy to via the internet.

Theologians’ divide the churches into dispensations saying that each represents a particular time in the history of the church. The church that is said to be for today’s Christians is the church of Philadelphia but if it is truly a case of the churches being different dispensations then the church of today would be Laodicea because we are truly living in the last days of the church era before the millennium. Most (not all) of the people who believe and teach the churches are different periods of time in history hold to the pre-trib rapture point of view. The church of Philadelphia is chosen to enforce this theology because of one promise made by Jesus to keep the church from the hour of temptation. The problem with that is when they consider themselves this church and claim no part of the other churches they are ignoring all the other promises Jesus gives the church.

Let’s consider for a moment the number seven. The number seven is used many times in God’s Word: we are told to rest on the seventh day at the completion of a week; God told the Jews to let the land rest on the seventh year at the completion of a week of years and God told them there were to be seven times seven years to complete a cycle before the Jubilee and I could go on. What does all that mean? When God uses the number seven it is a symbol of completeness; in particular it is a symbol of spiritual completeness. With that in mind it can be asserted that when God told John to write to the seven churches He was actually telling John to write to the church as a whole.

Another reason that we can be sure Jesus was speaking to the church as a whole when He spoke to the seven churches is that all seven letters to the churches have four things in common: two in the beginning and two at the end. In the beginning of each letter there is a description of Jesus and then he tells them that he knows their works and he describes them. At the end of each letter he gives instruction for each individual of each church to have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to churches i.e. he wants each person of each church to understand that what he says to one he says to all. In His final word to each of the churches He tells them that when they overcome he will reward them with gifts. 

1.      Rev. 2:7—He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

2.      Rev. 2:11—He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

3.      Rev. 2:17—He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].

4.      Rev. 2:26-28—And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.

5.      Rev. 3:5—He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

6.      Rev. 3:12—Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: And I will write upon him my new name

7.      Rev. 3:21—To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

What does it mean to be an overcomer? Simply stated it means that we hold onto our faith and endure until death no matter what trials we may face or by what manner we die: 1 John 5:4—For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith; James 1:12—Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

In the letter to Smyrna Jesus reiterates the same promise James 1:12 speaks of; Rev. 2:10—Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer… be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Smyrna like the church of Philadelphia had no complaints against them yet they were told the devil would put them in prison for ten days and if they overcome then the second death would have no power over them. This is more proof that all the promises given to each church is given to all who are in the body of Christ.

If you have not received Jesus into your heart I implore you to do so now. We are living in the last few years before His return and you want to be ready. There is nothing in this world that you have done that is so bad Christ won’t forgive you. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you and believe that He has done so and you will have a peace in your heart and mind that you never knew you could have and you can be a receiver of all the gifts promised to the seven churches.
1 John 1:9—If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalms 86:5—For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

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colin said...

There would appear to be much confusion regards the 'Seven Churches'. I believe this is primarily because of the various eschatological views that are around. I believe that these Churches were in existence and that the message spoken to them then, is applicable to today's Church.
I am lead to believe that when God says something once, we had better take note, and obey. But with the many repeated exhortations to overcome, you would think Christians would get the message?
The Free Grace crowd would have something to say to you I am sure!

Gail said...

I agree Colin, there is much confusion regarding the ‘Seven Churches’ and it is clear to see that all the promises are meant for all that love Christ and are saved by His blood and that we are all subject to His condemnations as well? I bet the Free Grace folks would have something to say about what I’ve written but they would have to also argue with the man who produced the video I added in the post. What he says makes perfect sense but of course in this day and age the less sense it makes the more believable it is?

Anonymous said...

This has been an extraordinary piece, it goes exactly with all the other timelines I have been studying. Harold Lindsey

Gail said...

Thank you Mr. Lindsey :)