Lessons can be learned from the seven churches

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Understanding examples from Revelation 2

By Shirley Jones

Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walk in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.

Dispensationalists see a prophetic application in the letters of Revelation that suggest that they outline seven stages of church history, with the churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea representing the final end-time churches.

Philadelphia is pictured as the end-time church characterized by revival and Laodicea as the apostate “church” just before the rapture. It is very likely that the last-days church will be comprised of people who represent all seven types of churches. However: Revelation 3:11, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”

Who are the seven churches? Ephesus (2:1-7) was an unloving and orthodox church. The spiritual vitality that springs from love for the Lord had turned into just a religious exercise. This spiritual condition of just going through the outward motions can be found in churches, individual Christian lives and marriage.

Smyrna (2:8-11) was a poor, persecuted church located in a beautiful city of wealth and commercial greatness. However, even under these conditions, they were spiritually rich.

Pergamos (2:12-17) was a church that diluted the word of God and allowed false doctrines that seduced people into immortality and idolatry. Jesus told this church to repent quickly. Pergamos also can represent the Christian who has taken his or her eyes off Jesus and has gotten into sexual sins.

Thyatira (2:18-29) was a church of loose morals and sexual sins. This church was also involved in the “depths of Satan” which were false teachings.

Sardis (3:1-6) was a spiritual dead church, whom Jesus urged to wake up and strengthen what truth they had left.

Philadelphia (2:7-13) was a church that was faithful and in revival.

Laodicea (3:14-22) was a church that was spiritually lukewarm and had deserted the truth of the Bible in many areas.