The seven churches described in Revelation 2-3 are seven literal churches at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today.
The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God’s truth.
A possible third purpose is to use the seven churches to foreshadow seven different periods in the history of the Church. The problem with this view is that each of the seven churches describes issues that could fit the Church in any time in its history. So, although there may be some truth to the seven churches representing seven eras, there is far too much speculation in this regard. Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches.
The seven churches are:
Promise To Faithful
|You have forsaken your first love||Repent and do the works as you did at first||You will eat from the tree of life|
|Endure your suffering and poverty, yet you are rich||None||Remain faithful even when facing prison, persecution or death||I will give you the crown of life. You will not be hurt by the second death|
|Loyalty to Christ; refuse to deny Him||Tolerate cults, heresies, idolatry and immorality||Repent!||Hidden manna and a stone with a new name on it|
|Love, faith, works, patient endurance; constant improvement||Tolerate pagan cults, idolatry and immorality. Judgement coming!||Repent!||Faithful hold fast until I come. I will give you authority over the nations and gift of the morning star|
|Only a faithful remnant have kept the faith. Church is spiritually dead||Repent and turn back to Christ||Strengthen what little faith remains||Faithful will walk with Jesus and not be blotted out of the book of life|
|Kept my word and have not denied my name||None||I have placed before you an open door. I will keep you from the hour of trial.||I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God|
|None||Neither hot nor cold. You rely on riches but don’t realize your spiritually impoverished condition.||Turn from indifference and repent!||I will invite those who overcome to sit with me on my throne|
M. Hunt copyright 2000, www.agapebiblestudy.com