The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches
The Book of Revelation starts with a vision of Christ giving seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These seven letters contain the words of praise and encouragement for the early Christian churches and also some words of reprimands and warnings regarding their mistakes. They look like normal letters to the Christian churches.
However, because they appeared in the visions in this “Book of Prophecy”, these seven letters also have specific prophetic meaning, especially with the different title of messenger in each letter. The names of these seven churches/cities also have special prophetic meaning in Greek. These Seven Letters to the Seven Churches prophesied seven historical periods in Christian history. Now let’s look at each letter to see what these seven letters really prophesied.
1. The Letter to the Church in Ephesus
Title of the Messenger:
Praise & Encouragement:
Reprimand & Warning:
(Note: The quote of this book is mostly from the New International Version of the Bible, unless specified otherwise.)
Apostolic Period of Christianity (30 A.D. – 100 A.D.)
In Christian history, this represented the Apostolic Period of Christianity when apostles, like St. Peter, St. Paul, St. James, and St. John, established the foundation of Christian churches. They were like the “stars” and “lampstands” to lighten up the world with the Word of God taught by Jesus. They were known for their “deed”, their “hard works” and their “perseverance”, which fulfilled the teaching of Jesus “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) And they were constantly battling with heresies due to the lack of authorized doctrines and scriptures.
However, at the early age of the church, sometimes their rules or teachings were a bit too harsh. For example, a couple was rebuked to death because they kept some money for themselves without donating the full amount to the church. (Act 5:1-10) That’s why Jesus Christ asked them not to forsake their first love.
As these disciples were the beloved Apostles of Christ, Christ promised them “the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” just like Jesus promised the one who was crucified with him but defended him against the one who mocked him. (Luke 23:40-43) This indicates the closeness between the Apostles and Jesus Christ. The time of this period was from about 30 A.D. to about 100 A.D.
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