The Churches of Revelation Part 1 – Introduction
Revelation 1:19-20 – “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angel of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
I’ve been reading through the Bible one chapter a day. I started with Matthew and then I will read the OT I find out how the story ends. Just kidding, I know how it ends. I read the Cliff’s Notes. We win.
But seriously, it has been a few years since I read through the Bible and applied a chapter a day. My prayers surround the chapter of the day, etc…
Well, I have recently been reading through Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and trying to understand the reason for the churches listed in the Book and it got me thinking.
Why these churches?
Some of these churches you would not know very well even from reading and re-reading the Bible. It only comes from a historical understanding of these churches that things begin to make sense, but still, not completely.
Colossians 1:2 – To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters[a] in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
You see, some of these churches were very small. Thyatira and Philadelphia were small Christian communities, and, if you base Ephesus as the primary starting point of the churches, others such as Tralles, Magnesia, or Hierapolis or Colossae would have been much larger. Some of those larger churches are also mentioned in Scripture. Troas is mentioned in Acts 20:5-12. Colossae is mentioned in Colossians 1:2. Hierapolis is mentioned in Colossians 4:13.
Colossians 4:13 – I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Now one reason for these churches could be for their geographic distribution. All these cities lay in a circular route around Ephesus. The first 3 churches were in direct communication using the Roman Road. From there, the message diverts away from the Roman Road to the great circular road that bound together the majority of the population.
So that must mean there is a spiritual reason for using these churches.
We know that Jesus has a message for each church.
- Ephesus – They have forsaken their First Love.
- Smyrna – They would suffer persecution.
- Pergamum – They need to repent.
- Thyatira – They have a false prophetess.
- Sardis – They have fallen asleep.
- Philadelphia – They have endured with patience.
- Laodicea – They are lukewarm.
Over the next 7 weeks I am going to discuss each of the churches. We’ll look at the history of the church, any Scriptural references, and the spiritual importance of why the church is listed in Revelation.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read and study Biblical and church history. So this will be no different. I look forward to learning about these churches and their significance.
Next week we’ll start with the church of Ephesus.
Revelation 2:7 – Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 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.