The Seven Letters to the Seven “Churches”
Revelation 2 and 3
Lorraine Day, M.D.
In Revelation, Chapter 1, Jesus walks among the Seven lampstands. "The description and acts ascribed here to Christ are not priestly, but are in accord with His prophetic office. The prophet's function was to point out God's method of procedure. At first this was done privately, by the seers, then officially by prophets. Prophets are sent especially in times of apostasy.
Christ wears none of the priestly vestments except the girdle, and this is of gold, not of fine twined linen (Ex 39:20). The scene is one of judgment, which the apostle tells us must begin at the house of God (1 Pet.4:17). The sword indicates this (Dan 10:5)." Concordant Commentary pg. 384
The lampstands reveal that Christ is in the Holy Place. But instead of the 7 lampstands being in one unit, they are all separate, as Jesus can walk among them. This may symbolize the scattering of the believers and groups of believers at the end of time. There will be NO organized “church” at the end, at least none that worships the true God. All the organized denominations will have gone over to the side of the Beast.
"Jesus is looking after our interests "always." Heb 7:25. Symbolically caring for the lamps that represent His church is part of His high-priestly duty. In sending the letters to these Seven Churches, Christ helps His "lamps" to shine with a brighter light by (a) praising their good qualities, (b) rebuking their faults in a straightforward manner and appealing for heartfelt change (repentance), and (c) offering brilliant rewards to anyone whose response is positive." God Cares, Mervyn Maxwell, Pacific Press; pg 97
“These letters fall into two groups. In the first three, the injunction to hear precedes the promise. In the last four this order is reversed. In the former the wilderness experiences of Israel are recalled; their first love in Ephesus, their trials in Smyrna, Balaam in Pergamos. The latter recall their history in the land -- two for Israel and two for Judah; Jezebel in Thyatira, Israel’s blotting out in Sardis, the temple in Hezekiah’s reign in Philadelphia, and the declining days of the Minor Prophets in Laodicea.” Concordant Commentary, pg 385.
Church: The word “Church” does not appear in the Bible. It is a mistranslation of the Greek word ecclesia, which means “the Called Ones.” The word does NOT imply an Organization or Structure of any kind, it only implies those whom God has “called.”
Messengers: The Greek word anggelos is often mis-translated “angels” but the correct word is “Messenger.” It is used both for human beings, such as John, the Baptist, his disciples, Jesus’ disciples, the spies sent, officers of the synagogue, etc, as well as for celestial beings, what we would term “angels.”
Of the seven ecclesias, which two received NO rebuke?
Smyrna and Philadelphia.
Smyrna was told that "False" Jews (False apostate “believers”) will "slander you."
Philadelphia was told that "False" Jews (False "believers") eventually will worship at your feet."
These Seven groups of Believers or “Ecclesias” were in the Western area of what is now known as Turkey. John, while writing Revelation, was exiled on the island of Patmos. From this island, it is likely that John could see many of these cities. Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamos were on, or very near, the Coast. These seven cities are listed in the Bible in the order that they would be visited on a road that connected them. Beginning with Ephesus in the south on the coast, going north up the coast to Smyrna and Pergamos, then a little inland to Thyatira, then proceeding south to Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. The road to these seven cities is in the shape of an elipse. One could go around and around, visiting these cities again and again.
Rev 2:1 “To the messenger of the ecclesia in Ephesus write: ‘Now this He is saying Who is holding the seven stars in His right hand, Who is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
The seven stars are the messengers of the seven ecclesias (Rev 1:20). Christ is holding these messengers in His hand, just where He holds the clay that He crushes and makes into a new vessel - a new creature in Christ. And the seven lampstands are separate, not one unit as they were in the Holy Place of the Sanctuary. This may well symbolize the ecclesia being dispersed or scattered at the time of the end. The true believers will not be in an organization or structure. But Jesus will be right there in their midst, wherever they are gathered. Even if only two or three are gathered together in His name, Jesus is there with them.
Verses 2, 3: I am aware of your acts, and your toil, and your endurance, and that you cannot bear evil men, and you try (test) those saying that they themselves are apostles, and they are not, and you found them false; and you have endurance, and you bear because of My name, and are not wearied.
These followers of Christ test the doctrines of apostles with the Word of God and are able to discern truth from lies in most instances. They don’t get weary. They work hard for the Lord, but maybe they do so by doing God’s work their own way.
“You bear because of My name.” This means that they bear persecution because they have the “name” or character of Christ.
Verses 4-6: But I have against you that you have left your first love. Remember, then whence you have fallen, and repent, and do the former acts. Yet if not, I am coming to you, and shall be moving your lampstand out of its place, if ever you should not be repenting. But this you have, that you hate the acts of the Nicolaitans, which I, also, hate.
What was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans?
The Nicolaitans claimed to be Christians but they considered it "a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols," according to Irenaeus, a second-century minister who grew up near Ephesus. Thus, the Nicolaitans called themselves Christians but felt that faith in Jesus released them from obedience to some of the Ten Commandments.
This is exactly what has happened in the Worldwide Christian church of today. They have introduced many false doctrines, including 1) Sunday sacredness 2) Immortality of the soul 3) the Secret Rapture 4) the Doctrine of “hell-fire” 5) the idea that God will destroy His enemies 6) the concept of “Free Will” 7) the supposed need for membership in an Organized Church 8) the worship of “man” and not God.
The name, Nicolaitans (Conqueror People), indicates their allegiance to the great world conqueror. Their allegiance was to “man” and not to God. This may symbolize their allegiance to the Beast power, the One World Government - Secular Humanism. First the Nicolaitans acts are condemned (Verse 6) and then their doctrine (Verse 15).
God warned that if they did not repent, He would remove their lampstand from out of its place. A lampstand signifies that they have light and are spreading that light to others. However, if they do not repent, their lampstand will be removed - they will no longer be able to discern truth. Then, the Bible says, that when they reject truth, “God will bring on them a strong delusion so they will believe a lie.” (2 Thess 2:11)
In 1 John 2:4, John wrote against similar people who were saying, "I know Him,” meaning Jesus, but those same people were breaking the commandments. Anyone who talks this way and does not keep God’s commandments, John describes as a "liar." See Matt 7:21
Ephesus enjoyed wide respect as a pagan religious center. Artemis, a many-breasted goddess of fertility also known as Diana, was worshiped there. (Acts 19:35) Aquila and Priscilla, a dedicated couple who were tentmaker friends of Paul, were part of the ecclesia in pagan Ephesus.
This is another counterfeit by “man,” because in the Old Testament, God referred to Himself as El Shaddai to Abram. The word Shad in Hebrew means “breast.” God refers to Himself as a “breasted” God - a nurturing God!
Soon after God called Abram, when Abram was still weak in faith - like an immature child, a baby, in his Christian experience - God referred to Himself as El Shaddai, a breasted God or a God Who nurtures His young.
Later on, when God expected Abram to grow up in his faith, God referred to Himself as Yahweh, a disciplining God, just as children need discipline as they begin to grow up.
Verse 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
To the one who is conquering, to him will I be granting to be eating of the log of life which is in the center of the paradise of God.
Most Christians today have no interest in hearing truth, and less interest in putting it into practice. They prefer to believe what they prefer to be true.
The “tree” of life is, literally, the wood or log of life, for the wood is dead, and, in this phrase, always speaks of life out of death, or resurrection. Concordant Commentary pg 385
The “paradise of God” refers to the situation in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden BEFORE sin entered. As soon as they sinned, they had to leave the Garden. “Paradise” refers to that special relationship Adam and Eve had with God BEFORE they sinned. They walked with Him every day. They were “one with Him.” As soon as sin entered, that relationship was no longer present.
God will ultimately restore “Paradise” by making us again, one with Him. In our daily Christian life, we will walk and talk with Him every day, even before we get to heaven. Just like Enoch “walked with God” and was translated without seeing death, so will Christ’s followers at the end also “walk with God” and be translated without seeing death.
Verses 8, 9: And to the messenger of the ecclesia in Smyrna write: Now this He is saying Who is the First and the Last, Who became dead, and lives:
I am aware of your acts and affliction and poverty (but you are rich) and the calumny of those saying that they themselves are Judeans (believers), and they are NOT, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Notice that the true followers of Christ are referred to as the “ecclesia” or “Called ones.”
On the other hand, the supposed Christians who claim to be believers but are bringing false doctrine into the church (beginning as long as 1500 to 1800 years ago) are referred to as a “synagogue” of Satan.
When Jesus was on earth, He sternly rebuked the leaders of the Synagogue, the leaders of the Organized Church of the day, those who felt they were so “godly,” because they had perverted and distorted His Word and His character and the character of His Father. It was these leaders of the Organized Church of that day, the ones who had been given the most information about the coming Messiah, who became so evil and so filled with themselves that they didn’t even recognize Christ as the Messiah - and eventually killed Him!
Jesus has the same message for the leaders of the Organized Church of today, the group that has perverted and distorted His Word and His character and the character of His Father, by making God into a “Killer God!”
Verse 10: Fear nothing that you are about to be suffering. Lo! the Adversary is about to be casting some of you into jail that you may be tried (tested), and you will be having affliction ten days. Become faithful until death, and I shall be giving you the wreath of life.
The end-time church will be persecuted. The “ten days” may refer to a short time, compared to the 40 years that the Israelites were tested in the wilderness Exodus from Egypt.
“Be faithful until death” certainly suggests that many will be killed near the end, and possibly ALL will be under such severe persecution, that only God’s power will keep them from being martyred.
The wreath of life refers to the wreath that was given as a prize in an athletic event, such as the Olympics. It signifies successful accomplishment under severe pressure.
Verse 11: He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
See explanation of verse 7 above.
Verse 11, cont: The one who is conquering may under no circumstances be injured by the second death.
The “Second” death is a spiritual dying to sin. It is not a literal death. (See 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Cor 15:44-49, and Jesus’ talk with Nicodemus about the first and “second” births in John, Chapter 3.)
Verse 12: And to the messenger of the ecclesia in Pergamum write: Now this He is saying Who has the sharp two edged blade (sword):
This blade or sword is the sword of truth. The “two edges” may symbolize the Old and New Testaments, often referred to in Revelation as the Word of God (the Old Testament) and the Testimony of Jesus (The New Testament).
Verses 13,14: I am aware where you are dwelling--where the throne of Satan is-- and you are holding My name (My character), and do not disown My faith in the days in which Antipas, My faithful witness, was killed among you, where Satan is dwelling.
But I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a snare before the sons of Israel, to be eating idol sacrifices, and to commit prostitution.
Who were the Balaamites?
"Balaam" is used here as a metaphor. The historical Balaam was a notorious Old Testament prophet who wanted to curse Israel to obtain a bribe from Balak, King of the Moabites, but only blessings came out of his mouth. It was Balaam's donkey that talked to him.
The sorry scene at Shittim, as recorded in Numbers 25, will be repeated in the day of Jehovah. In ancient times sacrifices to the gods were accompanied by ceremonial prostitution, which will also characterize the worship of the "beast." Concordant Commentary, pg. 385 (See Revelation 14, 21,22)
The prostitution will not only be literal (Freemasonry will be the ultimate One World Religion, a religion that worships the male and female sex organs and sexual degeneracy) but the prostitution will be spiritual as well. The harlot (the Worldwide apostate Christian Church - full of false doctrine) of Revelation 17, commits prostitution with the Kings of the earth (the political leaders of the world who get their authority from the Beast power (Rev 13) This symbolizes the melding together of Church and State, a situation that ALWAYS brings persecution to the true followers of Christ.
"God worked a miracle to keep Balaam from cursing Israel; but Balaam was so determined to get the bribe, that he advised King Balak to invite the Israelites to a pagan festival, supplied with women and wine. Apparently, Balaam reasoned that if he could get the Israelites to sin seriously, God Himself would curse them.
"Popular banquets sponsored by social clubs and trade guilds were conducted frequently at Pergamum, and at Corinth, in pagan temples.
"Apparently, what troubled Jesus in the church at Pergamum was this same perverted kind of Christianity that claims that in Christ we are all free to do our own thing, even when doing so is contrary to the commandments, and that any bad influence our behavior may have on others is their fault, not ours." God Cares, by Mervyn Maxwell pg 104
Verses 15,16: Thus you, also, have those holding the teaching of the Nicolaitans, likewise. Repent then! Yet if not, I will be coming to you swiftly and shall be battling with them with the blade of My mouth (truth).
Verse 17: He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias. To the one who is conquering, to him will I be giving of the hidden manna, and I shall be giving him a white pebble (stone) and on the pebble a new name written, of which no one is aware except the one who is obtaining it.
The “hidden manna:” Jesus is the manna - the bread that came down from heaven. The truth will be “hidden” at the end, to all except a few. Most will have rejected truth so God will have brought on them a “strong delusion” so they will believe a lie.
The white pebble (stone) was used in the allotting of the land of Israel, which looked forward symbolically to heaven or the New Earth - the Promised Land. Each man’s name was written on a pebble, and these were put into a bag. As each allotment was called, a pebble was withdrawn. The allotment was given to the man whose name was on it.
The pebble or stone is white, signifying righteousness, and the “new” name refers to the new character that God will have established in everyone who is saved.
“No one is aware except the one who is obtaining it.” The apostate Christian church will be very amazed that those whom they are persecuting will be the very ones who have been Chosen by God to be saved in this eon.
Pergamum was the capital of a kingdom with the same name, an illustrious cultural center where there were temples dedicated to the worship of the Emperor Trajan and later to the Emperor Severus.
"I know where you dwell," said Jesus to the congregation of Pergamum-- "where Satan's throne is"! (Compulsory Emperor worship!)
They were rebuked for holding some doctrines of the Nicolaitans who taught that faith in Christ released them from observing the commandment about adultery and, to a certain extent, released them from the commandment about idolatry.
Verse 18: And to the messenger of the ecclesia in Thyatira write: Now this the Son of God is saying, Who has His eyes as a flame of fire and His feet like white bronze:
God refers to His law as a “fiery” law that figuratively burns the sin out of our life.
Verse 19: I am aware of your acts and love and faith and service and your endurance, and your last acts are more than the former.
God says, “You are progressing in your Christian walk.”
Verse 20: But I have MUCH against you, seeing that you pardon that woman of yours, Jezebel, who says that she is a prophetess, and is teaching and deceiving My slaves so as to commit prostitution and to be eating idol sacrifices.
This is an allusion to the period of the Kings (1 Kings 16:31) The error of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15, Jude 10,13) becomes the state religion (Rev 9:20,21, 17:2, 18:3). The fact that Ephesus (2:6) and Pergamos (2:14) and Thyatira are all warned against this evil shows that the worship of the Beast will revive the seductions of idolatry.
Verses 21,22: And I will give her time that she should be repenting, and she is not willing to repent of her prostitution. Lo! I will cast her into a couch, and those committing adultery with her into great affliction, if ever they will not be repenting of her acts.
The apostate Christian church will “reap what it has sown.”
Verses 23: And her children shall I be killing with death, and all the ecclesias shall know that I am He Who is searching the kidneys and hearts.
“To kill with Death,” here is used for an epidemic disease (plague, black death - See Rev 6:8) such as biological warfare.
Verse 24: Now to you am I saying, to the rest in Thyatira, whoever have not this teaching, who do not know the deep things of Satan, as they are saying, that I will be casting on you no other burden.
“The depths of Satan are in contrast to the depths of God (1 Cor 2:10). The latter are explored by the spirit and are unknown to the soulish man (the unspiritual man - or one who gains information only by the five senses). Satan’s depths are found in consecrating the most debased passions to religion. Every appeal to the senses, whether to the eye, in magnificent buildings and ritual, or to the ear by the mesmeric influence of music, or to the taste in suppers and banquets, or to the lower sensual appetites, is a descent into the depths of Satan.
“In the beginning Satan appealed to the woman through her senses (Gen 3:14). His desire for worshipers leads him to offer them the strongest sensual inducements disguised under the sacred sanction of divine worship.” The Concordant Commentary, pg 386
Signs, wonders and miraculous healings will eventually degenerate into despicable sexual activities that will be defined as “divine.”
Verses 25-29: Moreover, what you have, hold until that time whenever I should be arriving. And to the one who is conquering and keeping My acts until the consummation, to him will I be giving authority over the nations (the unbelievers); and he shall be shepherding them with an iron club, as vessels of pottery are being crushed, as I also have obtained from My Father. And I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
What does "rod of iron" mean?
The shepherd's mace (rod) was a heavy club with a thong to hold it securely to his wrist, and a large head, bristling with spikes at the end. He carried a crook (staff) for the sheep, to gently pull the sheep back into the fold to safety, and a club (a mace or rod) to fight the enemies (predators) of the sheep (Rev 12:5; 19:15).
The clay vessels of the potter are smashed to pieces (this is “destruction”), but they always remain in the Potter's hand and He then creates them into a new creature in Christ. (Jer 18:4)
Thyatira was the church that tolerated Jezebel, symbolizing the problem of immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols, the same compromise with pagan culture that was advocated by the Nicolaitans and the Balaamites. The degree of compromise, however, was devastatingly worse. Even when Jezebel was granted time for repentance, she had stubbornly refused to change her ways. As a result, she was to suffer from a dread disease, presumably brought on by her own excesses. "Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed." Unless they repented, her followers were to endure "great tribulation."
Revelation 3:1: And to the messengers of the ecclesia in Sardis write: Now this He is saying Who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars:
The seven spirits of God are seen under various figures: Before the throne they appear as torches of fire (Rev 4:5) On the Lamb they are seen as seven horns and seven eyes (Rev 5:6).
Verse 2: I am aware of your acts, that you have a name that you are living, and are dead. Become watchful, and establish the rest who were about to be dying; for I have not found your acts completed in the sight of My God.
Verse 3,4: Remember, then, how you have obtained, and hear; keep it and repent. If ever, then, you should not be watching, I shall be arriving on you as a thief, and under no circumstances will you be knowing what hour I shall be arriving on you. But you have a few names in Sardis which do not pollute their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Christ comes as a thief in the day of the Lord (1 Thess 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10, Rev 16:15). The Lord warned His disciples of this aspect (Matt 24:42, 44; Luke 12:39). When they shall say “peace and security” then sudden destruction will come upon the unwatchful (1 Thess 5:3) But we are not in darkness that it should overtake us as a thief (1Thess 5:4,11).
“Polluting one’s garments” means they are not white (righteous) anymore.
Verse 5: The one who is conquering, he shall be clothed in white garments, and under no circumstances will I be erasing his name from the scroll of life, and I will be vowing his name in front of My Father and before His messengers.
“The scroll of life is referred to six times in the book of Revelation. It contains the names of those who do not worship the Beast (Rev 13:8; 17:8). It is opened at the great white throne (20:12) and any whose names were not found written in it were cast into the “lake of fire” (20:15). Those enrolled in it may enter the new Jerusalem (21:27). Those who take away from the sayings of this prophecy will have their part taken from the log of life (22:19).” Concordant Commentary pg 386.
Verse 6: He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
Sardis was located high on a mountain and considered itself impregnable. The main part of the town was perched 1000 feet above the valley floor at the top of almost perpendicular cliffs.
No army could surmount the city's protective precipices; but twice the city was conquered by a hardy volunteer who scaled the wall-like cliffs and opened the city gates from the inside -- while the population, feeling perfectly safe, was sound asleep.
The rebuke Jesus gave the church at Sardis was: "You have the name of being alive and you are dead." They were self-satisfied and had fallen asleep. "Remember… what you received and heard; keep that, and repent." "Awake, and strengthen what remains" they were told.
Verse 7-10: And to the messenger of the ecclesia in Philadelphia write: Now this is saying the True, the Holy One, Who has the key of David, and Who is opening and no one shall be locking, and locking and no one shall be opening:
I am aware of your acts. Lo! Before you I have granted an open door, which no one is able to lock, for you have a little power, and you keep My Word and you do not disown My name. Lo! I have granted to those of the synagogue of Satan (who are saying that they themselves are Judeans (believers) and are not, but are lying) Lo! I shall be making them that they will be arriving and worshiping before your feet, and they may know that I love you.
Jesus had no rebuke for the Phildelphian Christians instead He lavished promises on them. The "synagogue of Satan," He said, would bow at their feet and learn that Christ loved them.
Verse 10,11: Seeing that you keep the Word of My endurance, I, also will be keeping you out of the hour of trial which is about to be coming on the whole inhabited earth, to try those dwelling on the earth I am coming swiftly! Hold what you have, that no one may be taking your wreath.
Endurance will be a cardinal virtue in that day of stress and distress. It is mentioned Seven times in Revelation:
Verse 12: The one who is conquering, him will I be making a pillar in the temple of My God, and he may be coming out nevermore, and I will be writing on him the name (character) of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which is descending out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
This new “name” (character) is probably the same as the “seal” of God (His character activated in the life of the Christian) as opposed to the “Mark” or “emblem” of the Beast, which is the character of the Beast implanted in the unbelievers and apostate Christians.
Rev 3:10 says of the ecclesia of Philadelphia, "Because thou has kept my command to persevere, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, which shall come upon all the world, to test them that dwell on the earth."
The English idiom "to keep out", conveys a false impression to many. Here it does not mean to keep "from". But to keep those who are in the trial so that they come "out" victoriously. Concordant Commentary, pg 387.
Laodicea, the insipid church:
Verse 14: And to the messenger of the ecclesia in Laodicea write: Now this is saying the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, and God’s creative Original:
Jesus is called the Origin or Beginning three times in the book of Revelation.
Verse 15,16: I am aware of your acts, that neither are you cool nor zealous (neither cold nor hot)! Would that you were cool or zealous! Thus, seeing that you are indifferent, and are neither zealous nor cool, I am about to spew you out of My mouth.
“To spew” as the result of an emetic. In other words, to “throw up.”
Verse 17,18: Seeing that you are saying that ‘I am rich, and rich have I become, and have need of nothing!’ and you are not aware that you are wretched and forlorn and poor and blind and naked, I am advising you to buy of Me gold refined by the fire, that you should be rich, and white garments (righteousness) that you may be clothed and the shame of your nakedness may not be manifest, and eyesalve to anoint your eyes, that you may be observing (seeing).
Notice that each church, up to this one, has been told: “He that has ears, let him hear.”
Now, the most apostate church of all has been told that they must SEE, as well as hear. They must not only hear, but they must understand (see) and DO!
Verse 19:20: Whosoever I may be fond of, I am exposing and disciplining. (God disciplines those he loves.) Be zealous, then, and repent! Lo! I stand at the door and am knocking. If ever anyone should be hearing My voice and opening the door, I will also be coming in to him and dining with him, and he with Me.
Verses 21,22: The one who is conquering, to him will I be granting to be seated with Me on My throne as I, also, conquer, and am seated with My Father on His throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias.
Laodicea, the seventh and final city on Christ's correspondence list was a business person's paradise. It was enormously wealthy and was proud of the fact. Much of Laodicea's wealth came from commercial and banking interests
Laodicea was famous for a medical school and for an eye ointment made from local ingredients. It was a resort town with hot springs bubbling out of the hills a few miles to the south.
It is not surprising that as the World-wide Christian “church” sinks further and further into apostasy, that doctors are becoming agents of death. They perform abortions, kill patients with deadly poisonous drugs of all types, including chemotherapy, give damaging radiation, and practice euthanasia much more widely than is generally known.
This is the ONLY church that received NO commendation at all - only condemnation! Instead, Jesus sent them a particularly stinging rebuke. "You say, I am rich, I have prospered (including prosperity religion), and I need nothing," said Jesus to them, "not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Jesus went on to phrase His prescription for their illness in terms that the local Laodiceans could readily relate to. He pictured Himself as a heavenly merchant offering the very products they desperately needed but which they supposed they didn't need. "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see."
"Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." But then Jesus adds, "Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent." Christ rebukes us to rebuild us. “Judgement” is designed to turn the sinner back to righteousness (right-doing), according to Ps 94:15, not to permanently destroy him.
Rev 3:22: The last words Christ says to the church of Laodicea in Rev 3:22 are,"He that has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches."
A low state of spirituality is denoted by the hearing ear. Job said, "I heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but NOW my eye has seen Thee. Job 42:5
What is the prophetic meaning of the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches? A number of Bible scholars believe that the Seven letters represent seven eras in the past and future history of the church, each letter predictive of a particular time in history. For instance:
Ephesus, 31 - 100 A.D.
Laodicea - 1844 - Present
But this seems a bit of a "stretch" as the time periods don't, with very great accuracy, define what was happening to the “church” during these different time periods.
It is very unlikely that this interpretation is correct because John tells us in Revelation 1:10 that this vision (the book of Revelation) takes place in the “Lord’s Day” - the Day of the Lord - which is the Time of the End!
Could it be more probable that the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches depict the different problems with those who claim to be Christ’s people in all different denominations right at the end of time, with God giving a description of their various faults and a warning to repent and turn to Him in anticipation of what is coming.
With each ecclesia, Christ shows that He knows what they are doing, He commends and praises them for what they have done well, then He rebukes them for their faults and gives them counsel to Repent! He warns them what will happen if they don't repent, then He promises them rewards if they turn from their evil ways and come to Him.
Christ's rebuke to End-time Christians:
1) You have abandoned your first love (possibly the truth of Universal Restoration)
2) Some of you are Balaamites (sexual degeneracy associated with church worship)
3) and some of your are Nicolaitans (believing that it is not necessary to keep ALL the commandments)
4) you tolerate Jezebel (State religion - melding of church and state)
5) you won't repent
6) your works are imperfect (doing God’s work their own way?)
7) you seem alive but are dead (have a form of religion without any power)
8) you say you are rich and increased with goods but you are lukewarm, poor, blind, naked and wretched (you believe you have the truth but you have distorted the truth of My Word)
God's Counsel to His End-time People:
1) Repent! This Counsel is given to ALL the churches except Smyrna and Philadelphia
2) Return to your first love
3) Don't fear
4) Be faithful to death
5) Hold fast what you know
8) Open the door to Me
The two ecclesias that receive NO rebuke, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are the two where "false Jews" (false - or apostate - believers) are mentioned. These false believers will "slander you" Smyrna is warned, and Philadelphia is told that these false believers eventually will "worship at your feet."
The Rewards promised by Christ to those who overcome are:
1) Eat from the tree of life (receive eonian life)
2) Given a Crown of life
3) Hidden Manna (God will reveal who He is)
4) White stone with a new name (new character)
5) Rod to rule the unbelievers (to turn them back to Christ)
6) White garments (righteousness)
7) "Walk with Me" (as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden)
8) Name of God, city of New name
9) Christ will sup (dine) with them, and promises that we will sit with Him "on My throne."
The Seven Letters to the Seven Ecclesias contain God's warning message to His people to prepare their hearts, their minds and their character for the perilous times that are coming. God chastens those He loves. He points out our faults so we understand what needs to be changed. Then He offers to come in and change us if we will "open the door."
But it is only God who puts the desire and ability in us to want Him to come in. And if He does it for just one, He will do it for Everyone. Because God is NO respecter of persons!
The Seven Letters are followed by the Seven Seals, which give the story of what will happen to God's people in the end-time, just before Jesus returns.
© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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