Revelation, chapter 1 Keys which lead up to the Seven Churches:
In order to understand who and what the Seven Churches in the subsequent chapters most likely are one must first identify the clues He gives us in this opening Chapter. I have highlighted these clues for consideration. These clues establish a much different interpretation of both Chapters 2 and 3 than the many "systems" of belief establish by adding to or taking away from the Prophecy.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. **The Lord Jesus Christ has the KEYS to hell and death because He Sacrificed Himself to redeem us from hell and death. He is the Author of the Book of Life and later we will see that only He can loose the Seals and open the Book of Life.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. I emphasize these words because we will see them later.
Notice in chapter 1 He repeatedly mentions that He is the first and last. The beginning and the ending. After he repeats this throughout the chapter, He then lays our His description of the 7 churches in Asia in Chapters 2 & 3.
VERSE 19 is a key to understanding that these seven churches are NOT how His church or body changed chronologically during the Church age. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; In other words Ephesus does not represent the “early church between our Lord’s ascension and 300AD, etc.
They were the first seven physical churches in the beginning but represent types of believers at the end of the church age at His Coming. Throughout the last 2000 years He is conveying to us that His True church became apostate and this apostasy grew worse as the church age progressed until the end AT HIS COMING.
He wanted us to understand that His description of these churches are how they were in the beginning and the type of believers they represent in the end.
The 7 churches in the beginning after our Lord ascended to Heaven followed Him in Spirit and in Truth. They had correct doctrine from the Lord and knew that saving faith resulted in them being crucified in the flesh, leaving all and following Him.
However at the end of this age few whose ancestry is traced back to these seven original churches are actually followers of our Lord, hence His repeated warnings TO OVERCOME THE WORLD to all as He describes each original Church in the beginning and each type of believer in the end. Apostasy soon infiltrated most of these seven physical churches and TYPES of believers not long after our Lord’s return to Heaven.
Commonalities among these 7 churches:
They all started out strong for the Lord and followed Him as disciples, loving not their lives down here and looking only to Heaven.
They all represent types of believers that can be seen if you correlate their descriptions to the types of believers now. These are the types of believers who spread out through all the earth. This is revealed later in Chapter 5:6.
They all end as only remnants remaining of true believers in each of the 7 types.
They all but Philadelphia over the ages turned to apostasy and no true belief as a group.
The Lord repeats the same warning to all at the end reiterating what each type knew in the beginning: They must overcome the world.
If those remnants at the end of the world do not overcome the world than they lost as tares, weeds and/or goats at the Harvest.
Deciphering the multiple 7Sevens:
The 7 stars are the 7 Angels of the churches
The 7 Candlesticks are the 7 churches
The 7 Angels of the churches are the 7 Spirits
The 7 horns & the 7 eyes are the 7 Spirits which are the 7 Stars or the 7 Angels of the churches which were sent out throughout all the world, Rev 5:6.
This is the first line by line study which give us keys to understanding. Check back frequently for subsequent studies of Revelation, Chapter by Chapter.
Turn the page: Chapters 2 & 3
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