February 06 2022
Today, Sunday February 06
“He Who Has An Ear…” Revelation 2:7
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
We believe that Revelation 1:19 is the inspired outline of the book. ”Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” In Revelation 1, John wrote the things which he had seen. Now in Revelation 2 and 3, John deals with "the things which are." After chapter 3, the church is conspicuous by its absence. Up to chapter 4, the church is mentioned nineteen times. From chapter 4 through chapter 20 to the Great White Throne Judgment, the church is not mentioned one time. The normal reaction is to inquire as to the destination and location of the church during this period. It certainly is not in the world. It has been removed from the earth. We believe that the church is in heaven for the seven year tribulation.
In chapters 2 and 3, Christ selected seven churches out of many in Asia Minor in order to get across His specific message. Certainly there were sins in the other churches, but the matters discussed in these seven churches cover all possible circumstances. Christ selected these seven churches to illustrate the spiritual conditions possible in the churches until He returns. John was writing to churches that he knew all about. Most Bible scholars believe that John had no doubt visited each of the seven churches personally and would have had firsthand knowledge of them and their condition.
Along with many other students of the Bible, I also personally believe these churches illustrate the "prophetic history" of the church from apostolic times until the end of the church age. In other words they give a chronological picture of the panoramic history of the church from the Upper Room and Pentecost to the Rapture, the catching up of the church to heaven. There are seven distinct periods of church history. This prophetic picture is largely fulfilled and is now church history, which makes these chapters extremely remarkable.
The letter to Ephesus represents the church of apostolic times, in the first century of the history of the church, which was starting to lose that first love for Christ. It was starting to focus more on its works than its relationship of love with the Lord.
Smyrna represents the persecuted church of the first centuries especially from A.D. 100 to A.D. 300. The church underwent tremendous persecution in the Roman Empire by it emperors.
Pergamos represents the church that was joined to Rome and it becomes the state church. This happen after the Roman Emperor Constantine, in 313 CE, issued the Edict of Milan, which granted Christianity—as well as most other religions—legal status. It was made the state religion in 380.
Thyatira represented the period of time from about 400 to the 1500’s when the church at Rome was dominant over the state.
Sardis symbolized the Reformation church beginning in the 1500’s with men like Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love, represents the missionary church beginning in the 1600’s to the present day.
And Laodicea symbolizes the lukewarm, apostate church of the last days.
However, we must keep in mind that all of the conditions named were present in the churches at that one time, and they are still present with us today. And while the seven churches may illustrate the general development of the church through the ages, that was not the main purpose of these seven letters.
For sure, each letter to each church has a specific message for each of us today! “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…”