Seven Churches

7 Churches in Asia-Minor:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.

‘7’ Paul Rolland, Night Watchman, Night Watchman Ministries

Seven (7) denote’s God’s divinely determined completeness to his plan or purpose.

7 Churches in Asia-Minor:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.

These churches are so named in Revelation (2:1–3:22) and are generally understood to symbolically represent the spiritual condition of the Church throughout the ages (past, present, future). The spiritual condition of each of these churches existed at the time John received the Revelation from Jesus. Interestingly, before the various prophecies of woe are revealed later in Revelation, Jesus first chose to reveal and address the spiritual condition of His churches, before he addressed the state of the world and the rest of mankind. Two churches could be considered good and faithful (Smyrna, Philadelphia), the other five (Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea) had varying conditions of sin that resulted in Jesus admonishing them. Jesus choosing to start Revelation by evaluating his church follows a general pattern in scripture where Jesus starts with his ‘own house’ first before moving onto the rest of humanity.  Much of what the seven churches faced in their day, we also face today as Christians, whether it is the seductive pull of something secular in our culture or a strong opposition from our culture.

Seven-fold Themes of the 7 Churches in Asia-Minor:

  1. Ephesus; (Rev. 2:1-7).
    1. Jesus Christ is powerful over and present with his people.
    1. Our deeds are important, including the hard work of contending for the truth of the faith.
    1. We should place high value on enduring faithfulness to Jesus in the midst of our pagan environment.
    1. Jesus stresses an absolute need to retain biblical love in our pursuit of truth.
    1. Jesus promises eternal life to those who overcome.
  • Smyrna; (Rev. 2:8-11).
    • Jesus has conquered death.
    • Those who are materially poor may actually be spiritually rich.
    • Persecution takes many forms, including economic and physical persecution.
    • Christians should not fear suffering for Christ.
    • Jesus promises life to those who follow him with a willing-to-die devotion.
  • Pergamum; (Rev. 2:12-17).
    • Some locations are more challenging for believers than others due to the power and proximity of evil.
    • Faithfulness to Jesus requires a persevering witness and may result in persecution or even martyrdom.
    • Jesus opposes false teaching that encourages compromise with pagan culture.
    • Jesus judges by the sheer power of his word.
    • Those who overcome are promised eternal fellowship with the Lord and his people.
  • Thyatira; (Rev. 2:18-29).
    • Jesus stands above all other gods and possesses power and insight to judge.
    • It pleases God when his children are growing in faith, love and hope.
    • God will judge false teachers (and their followers) for leading God’s people astray.
    • Those who are dabbling in false teaching have a limited amount of time in which to repent.
    • God calls his people to persevere by holding on to the central truths of the faith.
    • We can look forward to sharing in Christ’s authority in the messianic kingdom.
  • Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6).
    • Human reputation means nothing compared to God’s assessment of our spiritual condition.
    • A dying church must take decisive action to be restored to spiritual health.
    • Jesus promises eternal recognition and security for the faithful minority.
  • Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13).
    • Jesus has sovereign control over who gets into the Kingdom of God.
    • Jesus’s acceptance of his people cannot be reversed by the world’s rejection of them.
    • God’s true people will be publicly identified and vindicated in the end.
    • Christ will protect his people from spiritual attack even though they may suffer physical persecution.
    • The greatest eternal reward possible is a permanent place in the presence of God.
  • Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22).
    • Jesus Christ is the faithful witness and authoritative source of life for all.
    • Jesus sternly rebukes complacency and half-heartedness among his people.
    • Prideful self-sufficiency and materialism blinds a person to their spiritual poverty.
    • Jesus rebukes and disciplines his people precisely because he loves them.
    • To experience renewed fellowship with Jesus, believers must be serious enough to change.
    • Jesus longs for and stands ready for renewed fellowship with believers who repent of their self-reliance and open their lives to him.

Commentary: Jesus provides a complete assessment of the spiritual health of his Church, at the time of his Revelation to the Apostle John, and also throughout the ages (past, present and future). He also promises rewards to those Christians who overcome the obstacles and sins that plague his Church (corporately, and of believers, individually). Jesus, specifically and precisely, reveals these sins and obstacles. He also, specifically and precisely, reveals the rewards the the children of God will receive.

Seven-fold Reference to Golden Candlesticks and Stars:

… “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle … The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches … Unto the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” (Rev. 1:12-13, 16, 20, 2:1). (emphasis added).

Commentary: The seven (7) golden candlesticks are the seven (7) churches (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea). The seven (7) stars are literally seven (7) angels that Christ has put in charge to oversee each church. Interestingly, Matthew 5:14 indicates that the Christian should be the light of the world and that their light cannot be hidden. Just as in the analogy of the Christian giving off light, the analogy of the church giving off light being as a candlestick also applies. Historically, some candlesticks could hold many lights or candles. These passages indicate that Christ literally holds sovereign control over the stars or angels of the seven (7) churches and that he walks in the midst of the seven (7) lampstands or churches. As divine Lord, Jesus Christ is powerful over and present with his people. He is omnipotent and omniprescent.

Seven-fold Exhortation from Christ for The Church to “Listen”:

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”. (7X). (Rev. 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22). (Emphasis added).

Commentary: Jesus repeats this phrase seven (7) times, once to each of the seven churches (regardless of their spritual condition). Contrast these seven exhortations to almost the same exhortation in Rev. 13:9, “If any man have an ear, let him hear”. This verse occurs in between a series of passages that introduce us to the symbolic figures of the antichrist and false prophet in Revelation chapter 13. This passage ominously omits ‘unto the churches’. This fact puts another checkmark on the list for a pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church since the Bride (church) of the Lamb does not exist on earth during this period when the antichrist and false prophet enter the scene. The Church is not on earth to hear what is being inferred to by Rev. 13:9, since they are not the intended recipient of this message/exhortation. Once again, put another check-mark on the logical list of reasons for a pre-tribulation Rapture/Harpazo of the Church.

Seven-fold Sins of the Asia-Minor Churches:

  1. Foresake first love / Christ … (Rev. 2:4).
  2. Hold to teachings of Balaam/Balak/Nicolatians … (Rev. 2:14-15).
  3. Ate food sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality … (Rev.2:14).
  4. Tolerate Jezebel and her false, immoral teachings … (Rev. 2:20).
  5. Spiritually dead … (Rev. 3:1).
  6. Lukewarm – not hot or cold, spew thee out my mouth … (Rev. 3:15-16).
  7. Say you are rich, but you are miserable, poor, naked … (Rev. 3:17).

Commentary: Jesus calls out five (5) churches for following other idols, false gods, false teachings (doctrines) and in the process, forsaking the church’s first love, Jesus Christ. He wants his Church to be spiritually alive and not dead or lukewarm. Jesus also sternly warns against letting materialism get in the way of a relationship with him. Jesus is very specific in his rebuking of these corporate, and individual sins.

*Seven-fold Exhortations from Christ for Christians to be Overcomers:

  1. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God“. (Rev. 2:7). (Emphasis added).
  2. … “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death“. (Rev. 2:11). (Emphasis added).
  3. … “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 that he receiveth it“. (Rev. 2:17). (Emphasis added).
  4. “And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end will I give power over the nations:“. (Rev. 2:26). (Emphasis added).
  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“. (Rev. 3:5). (Emphasis added).
  6. 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“. (Rev. 3:12). (Emphasis added).
  7. 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“. (Rev. 3:21). (Emphasis added).

Commentary: These exhortations by Christ are part of the seven (7) blessings offered by Christ to the Christians in his seven (7) Churches throughout the ages, and at the time John the Apostle received the Revelation from Jesus. The fact that Jesus purposely uses the term overcomers is unique. This term or name suggests a battle, or a fight against overwhelming odds. Someone who is an underdog but somehow overcomes the odds to be victorious. Satan is ruler of the earth and his minions do everything they can to defeat mankind from reaching knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Temptations, deceptions, lies, false teachers, false doctrines, distractions, meddling, trickery, excessive wealth, persecution…the list goes on and on. Jesus knows what we are up against, yet we can become overcomers by our acceptance of his offer of grace, through the forgiveness of our sins. He knows that we are human and what is is like to be human (since God became incarnate in flesh as Jesus). He also knows that we will stumble, falter and fail along the way. However, he urges us to keep up the fight with him, to fight the good fight and to overcome the traps and pitfalls that Satan puts before us. In the words of Christ, to become overcomers! The desire of Jesus for us to become overwhelmers is so strong that he provides a unique and special reward to each Christian, along with each one of his exhortations. Each blessing is unique and different!

*(Rev. 12:11) … “And they overcame him (beast/antichrist) by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.” (Emphasis added). Jesus didn’t forget his Tribulation Saints! They also receive the designation of overcomers because of their belief in Jesus Christ and his gospel. They witnessed of their belief at the cost of losing their lives (beheading) by the antichrist. Jesus’ designation of overcomers is universal for Christians, regardless of whether or not they came from the Church Age or the combined Tribulation Period.

Seven-fold Reference of Rewards for Overcomers:

  1. To Ephesus … “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:7). (Emphasis added). (citizenship in heaven, eternal life).
  2. To Smyrna … ”Be though faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Rev. 2:10-11).(Emphasis added). (crown of life, eternal life).
  3. To Pergamum … “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17). (Emphasis added). (hidden reward, personal acknowledgment by Christ).
  4. To Thyatria … “To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations, that one will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. “(Rev. 2:26-28).  (Emphasis added). (shared rulership over nations).
  5. To Sardis … “To the one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name befor my Father and his angels.” (Rev.3:5). (Emphasis added). (eternal salvation, righteousness, public acceptance by Christ).
  6. To Philadelphia … “To the one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.” (Rev. 3:12). (Emphasis added).(citizenship in New Jerusalem, new identification in Christ).
  7. To Laodicea … “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev. 3:21). (Emphasis added). (shared rulership).

Commentary: At the conclusion or end of each individual letter to each church, Jesus promises a unique blessing to each member of these churches who overcomes. Again, these promises were specific to the Christians at the time John wrote Revelation and are also considered blessings/promises to Christians throughout the ages who overcome. Since there were seven (7) unique letters, there are seven (7) unique blessings or promises. This is not meant to be all inclusive of His promises throughout all of scripture or Revelation. He promises eternal life (tree of life), living in paradise (heaven/New Jerusalem), a crown (life), not hurt by the lake of fire (2nd death), hidden reward, white stone with new name (personal acknowledgement), authority over nations (co-reign), dressed in white (righteousness), name written in the book of life (eternal life, escape white throne judgement), acknowledgement by Christ to the Father, becoming a pillar in the temple of God (citizenship in the New Jerusalem), new name in Christ, the right to sit with Christ on his throne (co-rule). What an amazing list of holy blessings or rewards!

7 Horns and 7 Eyes = 7 Lamps of Fire = 7 Spirits of God:

 … “and from the seven Spirits which are befor his throneAnd unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art deadAnd out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Rev. 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). (Emphasis added).

Commentary: Horns represent power. Jesus is described as being omnipotent; all powerful. The fact that Jesus is described as having seven (7) horns and seven (7) eyes reflects God’s divinely determined completeness as to his purpose or status. God’s ominpotent power in Jesus is absolutely complete and without question. Eyes represent knowledge, wisdom, understanding and sight. Jesus is omnipresent, all-seeing, all-knowing, everywhere at once. Nothing is beyond him or his gaze. God’s omnipresence in Jesus is absolutely complete and without question.

But how can they call on him (Jesus Christ) to save them unless they believe in him (Jesus Christ)? And how can they believe in him (Jesus Christ) if they have never heard about him (Jesus Christ)? And how can they hear about him (Jesus Christ) unless someone tells them?” —Romans 10:14

In His Service,

Night Watchman

Paul Rolland

Night Watchman Ministries

Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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