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.
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.
Cultural compromise, such as found in Pergamos, brings judgment from Jesus. To those who refuse to compromise their convictions, Christ promises eternal life.
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 Thyatira epistle carries a central theme for all seven churches, namely the tendency to syncretize or mix worldly ideas with the truth of God.
The seven churches of Revelation have intrigued students for centuries. Where they simply seven churches in Asia, or do they have more relevance today?
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?
The seven churches exist in the end time, but is there hope for a bright future? What will happen next? 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?
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.
Christ severely criticizes the church of Pergamos for the doctrine of Baalam and idolatry. Nevertheless, to those who overcome, He will grant eternal life.
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 disintegration of the Worldwide Church of God, it became clear that God …
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.
The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 all existed simultaneously and the characteristics of five of them will apparently be extant at the return of Christ.
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 necessary adjustments God makes to accomplish His purpose. "The work" …
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 of hopelessness . God's called-out ones can feel the relentless pressures …
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.
God gave His approval for the destruction of the Worldwide Church of God into numerous groups, allowing heresies so He could see who really loves Him.
While it is natural and harmless to identify with a teacher that we hear each week, that identification should not be the source of friction.
Many have misunderstood the 'open door' reference in the letter to Philadelphia. It refers to Isaiah 22:15-25, which describes the role of Eliakim the steward.
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 church of the Philadelphians has a 'little strength', suggesting that Christ commends them for being 'faithful in little' and will reward them with much.
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.
The scattering of the church was an act of love by God to wake us from our lethargic, faithless condition. The feeding of the flock is the priority now.
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.
God, following a pattern, routinely calls the lowly and weak to guard against pride. God will transform the weak of this world through His Holy Spirit.
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 endure to become free of Satan's cocoon. These struggles lead us through this …
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 has fallen out of favor and has been replaced by cheap 'grace.' The Law …
Contrary to Protestant understanding, our works emphatically do count - showing or demonstrating (not just telling) that we will be obedient.
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.
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.