Hello everyone and welcome back to WPN Ministry. Today we are going to start a new seven part series, looking deep into the seven letters written to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelations.
In each study, we will break down one of the seven letters written to the seven churches of Asia Minor and explain their meaning and purpose. But today, we will start off with a prelude to this study series
Before we begin, I want to remind our readers/listeners of the setting during the time these letters were written. If you haven’t already, I recommend going back and looking at my Revelations Study Series Part 1 “History and Purpose”, where I explained how the apostle John, who was the pastor at the church of Ephesus, was exiled to the island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor (now-a-day Turkey) and it was there that he was given instructions to write seven letters to seven specific churches, also located in Asia Minor (Rev 1:11 nasb).
Though each letter was written to a different church, the format that was used was the same.
Before we continue, I want to remind you that this was a direct revelation from God to John (Rev 1:1-3 nasb). John copied down the revelation that was given to him. You see, all of the Bible are Gods very words, “inspired” by God (2 Tim 3:16) meaning that it had both a human author and God as the author. God would put the ‘inspiration‘ in the minds of the men who wrote the books of the Bible, making Him the true author. Though this was a direct revelation to John, the words he wrote were inspired by God.
Also remember, that the book of Revelation says that those who read and understand this book are ‘blessed’ (Rev 1:3 nasb). This is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it, yet it is the least taught book in the Church today. The message I’m trying to convey is that ALL scripture, whether Old Testament or New Testament, doctrines of love/salvation or the prophetic ends times, are all from God and are EQUALLY as important. The Church today should be teaching all the doctrines of scripture equally and are not suppose to add to it or leave anything out (Deut 12:32 nasb).
One of the reasons why I started teaching Bible prophecy, was to give the Church (the body of Christ) the opportunity to learn and study the prophetic end times, and by this, get excited about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So now that we have covered the setting and the importance of studying all scripture, lets finish up the introduction to the study.
These seven letters were written to seven actual churches in Asia Minor (Turkey), but they also had another purpose. These letters are a direct representation of the Church (the body of Christ) today. During this series, I will go into detail about the message that Jesus gave to the physical church, but also how this message applies to the body of Christ today.
Each one of these seven letters also has three implications that Jesus reveals to each church: Identification (identifying the recipient of the letter and Jesus Himself to the church), The Message (presenting to each church either their works/deeds or trials) and lastly A Prophetic Outcome (rewards given to the overcomer).
First lets look at the Identification:
Each letter starts off by announcing the recipient of the letter using the phrase “To angel of the church” (Rev 2:1 nasb). Some take this as being the pastor of the church, but if we look at the word ‘angel’ used here, its Greek translation is ‘angelos’ actually meaning angel. It can sometimes be translated as ‘messenger’ and since angelos means a literal angel, then it can also be translated as some sort of heavenly messenger. After this Jesus then identifies Himself by using certain language or symbols that have been previously used in scripture to identify Him before. For example, to the church in Smyrna, Jesus describes Himself as “The first and the last”, a phrase that we also see in Rev 1:8 nasb.
Now lets look at the Message:
After Jesus identifies Himself to the church, He then gives the church a message concerning their works/deeds or trials that they may face. To every church, with the exception of Smyrna and Philadelphia, Jesus used the phrase, “but I have this against you,” indicating that the church (the physical church and the body of Christ) were/are in need of some sort of correction. The physical church at the time needed to correct a deficiency within their church body that Jesus points out. But for us as the body of Christ today, we should use these messages to identify what deficiencies we have in our relation with Christ and correct it.
Lastly, lets go over the Prophetic Outcome:
All of the seven letters end with the same two messages, “To he/him who overcomes” and “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches”.
Now an overcomer is one who believes in Jesus as Christ and Lord (see 1 John 5:4 nasb). When Jesus says, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches” He is actually referring to the Church (Christians). But how do we know that He is referring to the Church instead of the non-believers? 1. Because the book of Revelations was written specifically to the Church, and 2. Because only the Church can understand what the Spirit is saying to them. Non-believers cannot and do not understand the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14 nasb) . So Jesus here is speaking directly to His Church (us) and gives us a prophetic message with a promise of rewards for our faithfulness in Him (Rev 2:7 nasb).
- One thing to note for students of Bible prophecy: After chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelations (the seven letters), the word Church (referring to the Body of Christ) is no longer used. And since Chapter 4 of the book of Revelations is the scene of the pre tribulation rapture of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation Period, this indicates that we, as the body of Christ, along with the Holy Spirit, are taken off the Earth prior to the start of the Tribulation (Rev 3:10 nasb, 2 Thes 2:6-7 nasb)
This concludes the ‘Prelude’ for my next seven part study series “The Seven Churches of Revelations.” In my next study of this series, we will look at and break down the letter given to the church of Ephesus.
Please email me if you have any questions regarding the information I just shared. You can find my contact information under the “contact” tab on my homepage.
And always remember, why is it important to study Bible prophecy? Because never have we been closer than today..