The seven Churches of Revelation

The Greek name for the book of RevelationA·po·kaʹly·psis (apocalypse), means “Uncovering” or “Disclosure.” This name indicates the meaning of Revelation​—it uncovers matters that had been hidden and discloses events that would happen long after it was written. The apostle John penned the Revelation at the age of 92 while exiled as a prisoner of Rome on the remote Isle of Patmos. John was to write in a book the visions that he SAW during his exile and send it to the 7 Churches who were operating in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). At the time of the writing of Revelation, John was the last of the Apostles of the Lamb still alive and perhaps the last living apostle who had SEEN the Lord. He was therefore the best, and perhaps only, man available to complete the New Testament canon.

What or WHO is being REVEALED in this book? Jesus Christ, His Glory, His Divinity is being fully revealed in the book of the Revelation, along with the apocalyptic events that will precede HIS 2nd coming. Inside the pages of Revelation, we see the cosmic war that goes on between the forces of Good and evil.

Revelation 1:  

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant Johnwho testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christeven to all that he saw

In the Revelation, God unveils or unseals those things that will “soon take place”on the earth. Obviously our “soon” is not the same thing as God’s “soon”, because it’s been almost 2000 years since the Revelation was written. To God, 1000 years is like a day, and a day is like 1000 years. (2nd Peter 3:8). But still, the Revelation unveils the things that will take place at the time of the end as it REVEALS the GLORY of the Christ, the Son of God, Yeshua (Jesus).

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ starts out with John, exiled on the Isle of Patmos, receiving an Angelic message and then some incredible visions that are similar to those seen by the Prophet Daniel hundreds of years earlier. The Angel of the Lord tells John to WRITE to the seven churches in Asia Minor (Modern Turkey) a message from the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), a message of correction, a message of encouragement, a message of hope.

Revelation 1:4

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throneand from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

The order of the Churches corresponds to “the route along which a courier from Patmos [where John received the visions] would have carried the scroll”.

The question is, if the events of the Revelation are End-Time events that have yet to happen, WHY was John told to write this letter (book of Revelation) TO those churches that existed 2000 years ago? These 7 Churches represented literal congregations or Christian communities in these areas, not buildings or meeting halls. God was letting them know that He understood their challenges and influences and was encouraging them to REPENT of misdeeds and to hold fast to God’s way of life in order to receive future rewards.

Many believe that the seven Churches also represent seven Church “Ages” or the progressive HIS tory of the Church, or Church “eras”.

A third way the messages to the seven churches can be understood is as advice and warnings to Christians throughout all ages.

Sadly, false teachers have misunderstood and misapplied the messages to the seven churches in claiming that THEIR organization or group of people represents the TOTALITY of a particular church era, such as Philadelphia (the faithful church), and that OTHER believers represent another era, such as Laodicea (the lukewarm church). Jesus warns all believers that we are to take the log out of our own eye before we can even begin to point to the speck in our brother’s eye.

The messages to the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 show us that the Church and its members were destined to face many trials and temptations throughout the centuries before Jesus would return. Yet God promised to reward His Church and individual members if they would REPENT of misdeeds and remain faithful to Him.

Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man✝️, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash

14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire🔥. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

Jesus’ Glory is described in detail, and is absolutely STUNNING! When you read “lamp stands” think MENORAH. Picture Jesus standing in the middle of the 7 candle Menorah. The middle candle, known as the Shamash (servant candle) is used to light all of the other candles. Jesus is pictured as wearing similar garb to the Jewish High Priest, and yet there are clear elements of His Divinity present. Jesus is being revealed as the Great IAM who sits in the midst of the 7 Churches! Seven is a number of completion and perfection, so Jesus is IN the midst of the entire Global Church, HIS BODY.

Revelation 1:20 

As for the MYSTERY of the seven stars which 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⛪.

Jesus is holding the the seven stars in His Right Hand, which ARE the 7 angels of the 7 Churches. Typically, in Scripture, an angel is a messenger, whether human, or a literal angelic being. Jesus has them gathered in His Right Hand, so His Hand is upon them. He is having the last SURVIVING APOSTLE John write a letter that will be sent THROUGH the 7 Angels TO the 7 Churches. The Message is for the 7 Churches, or as we described, the 7 church eras, or the 7 types of Christians who are present at the end of days. The churches are also described as lampstands, or as a Menorrah. Why? Jesus IS the Light of the world! The lampstand represents something that HOLDS the light, or that the light shines from…like the Church. An individual Christian could also be considered a lampstand in that the light of Jesus shines through each one via His Holy Spirit. That sharp two-edged sword that comes out of Jesus’ mouth are His Words of Truth. Jesus speaks Truth and light. He’s not worried about political correctness, or changing Biblical truths to match the culture, no, Jesus speaks a truth that is living and active and even sharper than the two edged sword. This truth cuts between joint and marrow, between soul and spirit, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12),

1. Ephesus, the Loveless Church

Ephesus : the church that had forsaken their first love . They were hard working, but they no longer had the same passion for Christ as when they first believed. Their work was no longer motivated by love.

Revelation To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

‘I know your DEEDS and your TOIL and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 

4 BUT have this against you, that you have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVETherefore remember from where you have fallen, and REPENT and do the deeds you did at first; or else I AM coming to you and will REMOVE your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hateHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

2. Smyrna, the persecuted church

Smyrna the church that would suffer persecution, particularly by the hands of those who are of the “synagogue of satan”.

Revelation 2: “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will NOT be hurt by the second death.’

Pergamum, Satan’s throne…

3. Pergamum, the pagan church

Pergamumthe church that needed to repent from following the pagan and occult teaching of the Nicolaitans. Pergamum was located at the location of “satan’s throne” (Modern Turkey).

Pergamum was the home of the Altar of Zeus. It was built from 197-156 BC. And that is where the altar remained until the Germans came. A German engineer discovered the ruins in 1864. His name was Carl Humann. The Germans moved the Altar of Zeus piece by piece to Germany. The Pergamon Museum was opened in 1930. To this day, the altar is housed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

The altar was used as a pattern by Hitler’s architect Albert Speer. This was used as a backdrop for one of Hitler’s speeches to the Nazi’s in Nuremburg. It was known as the Zeppelintribüne.

In 2008, Barack Obama was nominated by the Democratic Party as their nominee for president. The setting was Denver, Colorado. Curiously, many believe that the stage where he announced his candidacy for President was a dead ringer for the Altar of Zeus, aka as the “seat of satan”.

Pergamum was satan’s capital. The grammar of the verse in Revelation suggests this is STILL satan’s capital. This is not to say the people of Pergamum or modern-day Bergama (Turkey) are satanic.

Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

13 I know where you dwell, where satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where satan dwells.

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israelto eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality

15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans16 Therefore REPENT; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

The Church in Pergamum had members who hold to the teaching of the Nicolatians. According to the writings of the Early Church leaders, Nicolas taught a doctrine of compromise, implying that total separation between Christianity and the practice of occult paganism was not essential. From Early Church records, it seems apparent that this Nicolas of Antioch was so immersed in occultism, Judaism, and Christianity that he had a stomach for all of it. He had no problem intermingling these belief systems in various concoctions and saw no reason why believers couldn’t continue to fellowship with those still immersed in the black magic of the Roman empire and its countless mystery cults.

The Nicolatians believed that if a person was saved by Grace, then it didn’t matter how they lived. They misused the Grace of God and the Liberty that is in Christ to satisfy their carnal (sexual) lustful desires.

4. Thyatira, the corrupt Church

Thyatira the church that had a Jezebel spirit who convinced them that it was OKAY to commit acts of immorality.

Revelation 2: 18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

19 I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.20 BUT I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bondservants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 

21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into GREAT TRIBULATION unless they REPENT of her deeds

23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 

24 But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do NOT hold this teaching, who have NOT known the deep things of satan, as they call themI place no other burden on you25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations

27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

5. Sardis, the dead church

Sardis – the church that was dead, that needs to WAKE UP or they will NOT be prepared for the Lord’s VISITATION and the day of the Lord will come upon them like a thief in the night.

Revelation 3:

To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this:

I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are deadWAKE UP, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have NOT found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and REPENT.

Therefore if you do not WAKE UP, I will COME LIKE A THIEF, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 

But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy

5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will NOT erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angelsHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

6. Philadelphia, the faithful church

Philadelphia the faithful church that had endured patiently and the ONLY church that received the promise of escaping the time of trial that comes upon the whole earth (Tribulation period).

Revelation 3: 7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 🗝️

‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an OPEN DOOR which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have NOT denied My name.

Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the HOUR OF TESTING, that hour which is about to COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, to test those who dwell on the earth. 

11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

7. Laodicea the lukewarm church

Laodicea the church with the lukewarm faith.

Revelation 3: 14 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will SPIT you out of My mouth

17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do NOT know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 

18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will NOT be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see

1Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and REPENT

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

One important thing to note in the book of Revelation is that after Chapter 3 (the letters to the 7 Churches), the Church is no longer mentioned in the book. The assumption is that the Rapture of the Church takes place at the beginning of Revelation 4, when John HEARS (from a voice as a TRUMPET)…. “Come up here”, and then he is shown “What will take place “after these things”, or after the Church Age, the Age of Grace is complete. From Chapter 4 and onward, God’s focus is on the Jewish people and the judgment of the world, ending with the completion of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the earth and mankind back to the way that they were intended to be before the Fall of man.††

1 Corinthians 15:51 

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed

Revelation 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”

About TFJ 287 Articles
My name is TFJ, which stands for Thankful for Jesus. I'm a wife, a mom, and a grandma. I have a passion for Jesus because He literally drug me out of the pit, washed me clean, and made me new. I know He will do the same for you, if you let Him.