Good morning, fellow travelers. I’m glad that we are on this Revelation journey together and I’m hoping so much that you are learning a lot. Every jot and tittle of Scripture is intended to teach us, and grow our faith in Christ. Just like food must be eaten in order for it to bring nutrients to the body, so Scripture must be taken in if we want a strong and vibrant faith.
Have you missed any of our lessons in this series that I call The End! A Revelation Journey? If you need to get caught up, please click here to be taken to pages where you will find all the posts linked in reverse order. Simply scroll to the very last post, which will be the kick-off post for the series from January4th, and begin reading.
Are you part of the Facebook group for this study? It is there that we continue the conversation begun here. That group gets some extras like videos and conversation. I would love to add you to the group. Simply send me an email to [email protected] and ask to be added to the group. You will then receive a response email from me with a link that you must click on in order to be added to the group.
We are ready to move into Chapter 2 of The Revelation, but before we do, I would like to set the stage. There are few things that are important for you to know on the front end that will help you as we visit the seven churches. I would like to take you back to two passages in chapter 1 in order to teach this information. In Revelation 1:11 Jesus tells John to write what he sees and send it to seven churches. He goes on to name the specific churches that He desires to receive this Revelation:
Pergamum (a.k.a Pergamos)
As with everything in the Word of God the choosing of these churches was not by accident. These seven churches were in Asia Minor, known today as the nation of Turkey. The cities in which these churches were located were geographically positioned in somewhat of a circle beginning with Ephesus, the most important of the seven. Each city was part of a key postal district in Asia Minor. When mail or government visitors would come to Asia Minor, they would dock at Ephesus and begin their visit to each of these strategic cities, moving clockwise. Jesus lists the cities in the same order that they are positioned geographically. It is likely that when John finished The Revelation it was sent by messenger to Asia Minor and delivered to the churches in the order they are listed.
We find the second bit of background that I want to emphasize in the Revelation 1 description of Jesus. John described Christ using several descriptors in verses 12-20. We will see many of these descriptors used strategically as Jesus greets the seven churches. He chooses the descriptors that are pertinent to the spiritual state of each of the churches. Let’s read that passage one more time, just to jog our memory.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Finally, as we study the seven churches there will be a common outline for each of Christ’s messages to the churches:
- Solution to their problem
- Consequences of not correcting the problem
- Blessing that comes with correcting the problem/overcoming
It is important to note that there will be a church here and there that is missing one of these points. We will consider this further as we study each church. I believe with all my heart that, while Jesus was addressing actual churches in John’s day, these messages are extremely pertinent to the church in 2016. Without fail, you and I will see today’s churches in these seven portraits; you will see your own church. We are wise to study this material prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us. Let’s engage!
- Was there anything in today’s material that strengthens and encourages your faith?
- The study of the seven churches is fascinating, yet sobering, because they cover the spectrum of churches that exist today. Will you humbly and prayerfully ask God to reveal anything within your heart and your church that needs addressed?