Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Why Should We understand the Letters to the Seven Churches?



A. Revelation is called the “revelation of Jesus Christ” because it reveals His heart, His power and His leadership.

Rev. 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place.  He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John.”

B. The theme of Revelation is Jesus returning to take leadership of the earth, in partnership with His people, to reap a harvest of souls (Rev. 7:9) and to replace all worldly governments with the Kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15; 19:15-16).

Rev. 1:7 “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him.”

C. Jesus will come only in the context of a prepared Bride in unity with the Spirit and anointed in prayer to release God’s glory on the earth and to release the Tribulation to confront darkness.

Rev. 19:7 For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

Rev. 22:17 “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!”

Rev. 8:4-5 “The prayers of the saints, ascended before God . . . Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth.”

At the end of this present age, the final seven years of the Tribulation Period, evil will be full grown or mature through the Antichrist Kingdom. But the Church of Jesus Christ will also be full grown—a Church without spot or wrinkle. The end time Church will truly be amazing. She will be awesome and mighty as she reflects the true beauty of Jesus in the earth! Hopefully you are getting the picture or revelation of the end time Church alive in the Tribulation Period. This Church will not only be mature but she will also be a mighty force in praying down the Kingdom of God. There is a good reason why Satan, the Red Dragon, will go after the Church through the Babylon Harlot and the Antichrist.

Solomon describes this end time Church in the Song of Solomon, Chapter 6 and verse 10: “Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners.”

Mary Queen of Scotland said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

The Antichrist will learn to fear the global intercession of the end time Church as she prays down the judgments of God upon his evil kingdom!


Rev. 1: Jesus gives the clearest picture of who He is with 24 descriptions of His majesty. (There are 6 more distinct descriptions in chapters 2-3; 30 total)
Rev. 2-3: Jesus gives us the clearest picture of what He wants in the Church in His seven letters.
Rev. 4-5: Jesus gives us the clearest picture of His heavenly commission and resources.
Rev. 6-19: Jesus gives us the clearest picture of how He will prepare the nations to receive the Kingdom of God.
Rev. 20-22: Jesus gives us the clearest picture of our eternal inheritance on earth with Him. 

III. LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES: PREPARING TO OVERCOME AND OPERATE IN POWER (7 letters from Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Church, to the Church)

A. The Book of Revelation is an end-time book of Acts. Just as the Book of Acts revealed the works of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and prophets, the Book of the Revelation reveals the acts of the Holy Spirit through the end-time apostles and prophets. Although these are seven messages to seven churches in John’s day and to the Church in each successive generation, they are also messages from Jesus to the end-time Church in how to prepare to partner with Him in His worldwide actions related to His Second Coming. Jesus knows best how to prepare His own Bride. The Church will play a major role in the seven year Tribulation Period. This will definitely be a time where people are living in what has been called “Bible Days.”

B. These letters show us the kind of Church that Jesus is building and what His agenda is. In them, we see how Jesus defines love and what He says is relevant. In these letters, the Lord defines the kind of Church that will be mature enough to release God’s judgment against the Antichrist in the way that Moses released the ten plagues on Egypt, and as the Apostles established the Church in Acts. The Tribulation Church will be a “Bible Days” Church!
C. The seven letters define the truths and focus necessary to equip the Church to walk in love for Jesus. Our love is expressed as we obey His commands, heed His warnings, and believe His promises—especially the eternal rewards! There will be great challenges for the end-time Church but also great rewards.


A. Individually: These letters were written to inspire a response from each individual believer (from Jesus to you—make it personal).
B. Corporately: The most powerful application is when local churches walk in these truths together. How good and pleasant when brethren dwell together in unity. True holiness produces true fellowship of the supernatural kind! This provides the environment of true holiness for revival!
C. Historically: The letters were first written to seven historical churches in John’s generation to address the actual conditions of seven real churches.
D. Universally:  The letters were written for all churches in the first century and throughout 2,000 years of Church history, just as the letter to the Romans was for the Church at Rome and for all churches, past, present and future.
E. Eschatologically (end-time): To prepare the Church for the events seen in Revelation 6-19. This is when there will be the most believers in history living in the most difficult time in history—and the most blessed!


A. Historical context:  It is important to know that these were seven real churches. Therefore, we will look at the political, economic, and spiritual context behind them. It is important to understand these churches and what Jesus said to them, in context, because it will provide prophetic insight in preparing you to not only live in the world but how to overcome it.
B. Affirmation for faithfulness: Jesus gave affirmation before He brought correction. Two churches received no affirmation (Sardis and Laodicea).
C. Rebuke for compromise: What they must not do. Jesus’ correction is not rejection. He had things against three churches: Ephesus (2:4), Pergamum (2:14), and Thyatira (2:20). Two churches did not receive a correction (Smyrna and Philadelphia). The compromises He gave the sternest rebukes were for passivity, immorality, and idolatry (covetousness and or sorcery; Col. 3:5; Eph.5:5; I Cor. 10:20-22). These were enabled by false teachings on grace that did not require repentance. This is prevalent in the Church today.
D. Exhortation to respond: What must they do? Jesus gave actions that He required, often with an element of warning. The warnings that Jesus gave most were against passivity (distraction with their increased blessing) and fear (persecution/rejection).

E. Promise for overcomers: As motivation for diligent faithfulness to Jesus. Most of these promises are for the millennial Kingdom. Insight into rewards is essential to help equip us to stand in pressure. Jesus promised 18 eternal rewards in Revelation 2-3.
F. Revelation of Jesus:  Each message begins with Jesus calling attention to the specific aspect of His majesty seen in Revelation 1 that was needed in each church’s situation. Sixteen different aspects of Jesus’ majesty are highlighted in Revelation 2-3. (You have the handout on the 30 descriptions of Jesus; this can also be accessed on my blog at warriorprophet.blogspot.com) Can you see the importance in keeping Jesus central? The person of Jesus is the power to overcome!


For those who say that the book of the Revelation is just a bunch of symbolism that nobody can understand, I would say to you that nothing could be further from the truth. The Book of the Revelation is God’s detailed Word for the end-times. It reveals the majesty of God’s Son and His plan to establish the Father’s eternal Kingdom on the earth. It reveals God’s plan to overcome all evil by removing everything and everyone who stands in the way of His love. Also in this amazing book is the Lord’s Church, a Church whom is destined to rule and reign with Him forever and ever. The book of the Revelation is the story of the end and the new beginning! If you allow it, this book will take you to places you have never been before. As Revelation 1:3 says “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” And I can confidently say, much more near than ever before!

What is meant by the phrase, “what must soon take place.”? It has been 2,000 years and the events described in this book have not yet taken place. I’m going to, humbly, tell you what I believe is meant here. When referring to end time events, Daniel said in Daniel 2:28 that what God was showing to King Nebuchadnezzar in the prophetic dream he was given were events that would take place “in the latter days.” Then we read in Daniel 12:4 “But as for you Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the time of the end . . .” Jesus, when speaking of end time events in the Gospels, said that certain things must happen first, but the end was not yet. However, in the Book of the Revelation, John shows for the first time that the events predicted by Daniel and foreseen by Jesus stood in readiness to be fulfilled. The Second Coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was now in view and ready to be fulfilled. The Lamb of God had been slain for the sins of the world, had been raised up, and ascended back to Heaven. The next event would be His return to earth. Or look at it this way: The Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost had been fulfilled; the next Feast to be fulfilled would be the Feast of Trumpets—the Rapture and Second Return of Jesus to the earth. But here is where we need to understand the way God views time and the way we view it. They are different. In II Peter 3:8 we read, “But do not forget this one thing dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a
day.” In the way that God views time, it’s only been two days since John wrote the Book of the Revelation!  And comparatively speaking, two days or even two thousand years is not much time when you consider the thousands of years that took place from the creation to the first coming of Jesus! I would add one further thought here. Although it’s my conviction that the Lord wanted every generation, and every believer, to live in readiness and expectancy of His Second Coming, I believe that the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the retaking of Jerusalem in 1967 by the Jewish people are two definite and profound, prophetic signs that let us know that we are in the generation of the Lord’s return and the events written in the Book of the Revelation being fulfilled. We are closer to the Lord’s return than ever before, and we should live our lives in light of that truth.

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