Today, we are starting a new series, “Seven Letters to Seven Churches.” In case readers haven’t figured it out yet, our new series will be about the 7 Letters Jesus Christ dispatched to the seven churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation.
FYI, for no other reason that I want to, this new series will run Monday and Friday, and the “Follow Me,” articles are going to Tuesday and Thursday.
Even though this is from the Book of Revelation, this will not be any type of study of Eschatology. I’m actually not the biggest student of that; maybe later in my Christian “career,” I will be, but I am not now. Don’t get me wrong; it’s very important that we study and try to understand every single word in the Bible. So, while I do like to study eschatology, I am far from ready to write an actual “study” about it.
Having said that, we are going to keep this simple. There is a Historicist view of the seven letters that suggest they were designed to represent 7 different periods of church history from the time John was inspired to write this book until the present. We aren’t actually going to look at them from that angle at all. I am not really a fan of that interpretation of these letters.
The letters seem very straight forward for the most part, and the vivid symbolism we see in much of Revelation is absent. We see here, seven letters dictated to the Apostle John by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to be delivered to what were, at the time, seven real congregations in Asia Minor(present-day Turkey.) So, immediately we can see that there was an immediate application to reach churches in real time. Jesus was writing about very specific concerns He had with these churches.
Since every word in the Bible is ultimately intended to today’s audience(whenever today happens to be,) we are going to approach this from the standpoint of how we can apply the lessons in these letters to churches today. Because many, at different times, may have had these issues, or may in the future.
So, we will be keeping things simple for the next bit. I’m all about the application of God’s Word, and there is plenty of that in these letters to keep us busy for a bit.
If you want to read ahead, here is our full text for this study.
Introduction: Revelation Chapter 1(list from gotquestions.org)
Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution
Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent
Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess
Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep
Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church with the lukewarm faith