We must keep the spiritual lessons of the letters, not just figure out prophecies. There are several ways to view them, but the most important is personally.
As High Priest, Christ is putting His people through the paces, tailoring the trials and experiences needed for sanctification and ultimate glorification.
Each of the letters in Revelation 2 and 3 speak of overcoming. By examining those churches, we can understand what we are up against and what we must do.
Christ prepared the members of Smyrna for martyrdom, promising them eternal glory for enduring a relatively short time, looking at things from a hopeful perspective.
The Ephesus church effectively battled various heresies, for which Christ commends it. However, the members lost sight of the reason, having left their first love.
Richard Ritenbaugh posits that the Thyatira epistle, appearing midway among the seven, carries a central theme for all seven churches, namely the tendency to syncretize worldly ideas with the truth of God, a practice engulfing worldly churches and infiltra. . .
Cultural compromise, such as found in Pergamos, brings judgment from Jesus. To those who refuse to compromise their convictions, Christ promises eternal life.
When Jesus warns us not to let anyone take our crown, He encourages us to endure over the long-haul and not bask in the glory of a brief, victorious accomplishment.
The Laodiceans fail to reciprocate Christ's love for them. The comfort of prosperity blinded them to their spiritual condition, especially their need for Christ.
The letter to the church in Sardis reads like an obituary, warning us who are alive but lacking zeal to repent and become serious about our calling.
The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 have intrigued Bible students for centuries. Where they simply seven churches in Asia, or do they have more immediate relevance to us today?
The seven churches exist in the end time, but is there hope for a bright future? What will happen next in the course of events? Will the church—now scattered—come back together?
Christ's first letter to the churches focuses on the Ephesians, a people who succeeded in trying the spirits, but in the interim left [their] first love.
Thyatira, the middle of the seven churches, receives a litany of praise and rebuke from our Savior. He particularly focuses on idolatry, which is spiritual fornication.
The Philadelphia church is often considered the best of the seven. Is it? Does it have any faults? Are we biased in our judgment?
Christ severely criticizes the church of Pergamos for its problems with the doctrine of Baalam and idolatry. Nevertheless, to those who overcome these sins, He will grant eternal life!
Historically, the modern church of God has believed that the seven churches are types of seven eras from apostolic times to Christ's return. Is this a valid belief?
Revelation 10 contains the seven thunders and the little book. It serves as an inset, not following a linear time sequence of the book of Revelation.
John Ritenbaugh, reminding us to take God's words seriously, cautions that all His words have great depth, having far more applications than appear on the surface. His word unfolds in layers, like the peeling back of an onion skin. After the upheaval and d. . .
Revelation 10 and 11 describe a time before the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, a time when the last of the seven thunders rumbles to a faint whimper.
John Ritenbaugh, clarifying our worldview with respect to the Israel of God (or the Church) in the context of eschatological (that is, end times) events, declares that our vision of our calling as well as our level of responsibility before the imploding of. . .
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that biblical history substantiates that God does not always have the church perform the same functions continually, but sometimes drastically alters the course according to needs and conditions. The perceived detours are necessa. . .
The letters to the seven churches of Revelation warn of losing our first love, heeding false teachers, compromising God's Truth, and forgetting right doctrine.
God's true church cannot be found without revelation nor can one join the organization; God calls and places each member in its appropriate place in the Body.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates the emotional state of the American people, especially those who understand the seriousness of the times, averring his conviction that they will never see good times again, but will fall more and more into a permanent condition o. . .
In the Day of the Lord, Christ stands in the midst of all seven churches. We are to learn from the lessons from all seven, not get sidetracked by eras.
The notion of church eras in Revelation 2-3 is based on some fundamental errors. Jesus expects that all of us learn from all seven letters.
Back in my college days, one of my roommates was continually bemused by the football fanatics who identified with their team so closely that they would speak in the first person. ...
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon the breakup of our former fellowship into hundreds of pieces, examines the prospects for future unity. God gave His approval for the destruction of our prior fellowship into myriad splinter groups, allowing heresies to emer. . .
David Grabbe, examining the implications of Isaiah 22:15-11, maintains that many major splinters of the greater Church of God have misunderstood the context of this passage which describes Shebna's expulsion from his role as Steward because of his blatant,. . .
The letters in Revelation 2 and 3 are for the end times, shortly before Christ's return. Each emphasizes repentance, overcoming, and judgment according to works.
John Reid contends that intense struggle is, by design of Almighty God, an integral and necessary part of the overcoming process. Just as fighting to escape its cocoon strengthens the butterfly, our calling requires effort above what the world has to endur. . .
God promises certain Christians that He will keep them from the Tribulation—the "hour of trial." Here are the characteristics of those whom God will protect.
The biblical city of Smyrna may be one that many know the least about. The city's name reveals the themes that the Head of the church wants us to understand.
John Ritenbaugh reflects that God, through His sovereignty, has personally placed each of us in the organization in which we can grow the most. We have a solemn responsibility to exercise our free moral agency, having authority and dominion over animals, a. . .
John Ritenbaugh, after a thorough analysis of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, concludes that the seven conditions described (all having a common denominator an admonition to hold fast to something once given, but slipping away- namely the faith o. . .
God has the ability to protect and save in a variety of methods. The Scriptures reveal various purposes for intervention, protection, and prudent escape.
David Grabbe, reminding us that a major focus of John the Baptist's ministry was a call to repentance and turning to righteousness, a focus that Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul reinforced and magnified. Curiously, in main-stream Protestantism, repentance. . .
The concept of power brings many different ideas to mind, any and all of which may certainly be valid. David Grabbe, however, concentrates on the 'little strength' of the church of the Philadelphians, suggesting that Christ commends them for being '. . .
Contrary to Protestant understanding, our works emphatically do count - showing or demonstrating (not just telling) that we will be obedient.
Success in spiritual things does not consist in growing large and powerful, but humbly living by faith, overcoming, and yielding to God's shaping power.
God uses calamities as part of His creative process. Like Jacob, who initially succumbed to weak faith and fear, we must repent of our loss of devotion to God.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that neglecting to feed the flock has been detrimental to preaching the gospel to the world. Because of this unwitting neglect, many members succumbed to the "lost in the crowd" syndrome, feeling insignificant, meaningl. . .
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