Seven Churches in Asia

The second and third chapter of the the book of Revelations consists of seven letters. Jesus dictated those seven letters, one to each of seven chiurches located in what is now Turkey. The churches were in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philidalphia and Laodicea.

Each letter is addressed to the angel of each church. The word angel, in Greek, simply means messenger. Of course the word angel can mean a being in shining, white complete with wings, but it can also mean you or I, human beings. The key to deciding which angel is meant is in the fact that the letters are addressed to the angel of each church. There would be no need to address a letter to a heavenly being. However a human messenger needs God's written word. It seems then that the angel to each church is a man.

As can be seen on the map there were far more than seven churches in Asia, and in fact our map doesn't include Thyatira, Sardis or Philadelphia. These were further inland from Pergamum or Pergamos and led down toward Laodicea. The churches locations basically form a circle. These seven were chosen by God on purpose.

Another thing to note is that each letter ends with "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; ...." Now 99.999% of people have ears. And the instruction is to hear what the Spirit says. So these letters are not addressed to everyone with physical ears but rather to those who have spiritual ears, Those that have the ability to catch the message within the written words. There are two Greek Words for "Word". Rhema, which is the meaning of the actual word and the Logos which is the concept behind what the word is trying to convey. Any student can sort out the Rhema but it takes revelation to catch the concept. It is no accident that John 1 verses 1-3 where it says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God" The Greek word used for "Word" is Logos. Christ is only revealed through revelation, spiritual hearing.

The first letter, to the Ephesus church, describes a brave and fearless church, like a lion. Yet they have a fault, they have lost their first love. This so accurately describes the church at the time from Paul to half way through the next century as to be almost uncanny.

Then the church started to move into man's control. instead of each person being led by the Holy Spirit church management became organised by strong men and committees. The spiritual church was dying. The fragrence used for burial was myrrh and that relates to the name Smyrnis. Another growing trend was the Nicolaitane move, a separation between ministers and the laity. Nico means to conquer and control, laitanes refers to the laity, the average believer. Also the trinity doctrine was starting to make it's appearance and titles of Father Son and Holy Ghost were used replacing the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The growing organisation looked like a Christian move, as the white horse rider looks like Christ from Revelation 19 v11-13, but of course he isn't.

After Constantine won the title of Emperor of the Roman Empire in 306 AD he made Christianity the state religion. He brought state and church together. Pergamos means marriage. Believers who were led by the Holy Spirit were seen as heretics by those conforming to such doctrines as the trinity and the authority of the church leaders. Persecution followed, the Red horse was riding.

Church councils created dogma and creeds. These became the "Christian" standard by which orthodoxy was judged and throughout the Pergamos and Thyatira age. As the old Roman Empire in the East fell the Roman Catholic Church's power grew. It bacame the ruler, starting crusades, amking and deposing kings. In the Bible the church is represented as a woman, supposedly the Bride of Christ, but she acted as a Jezabel bringing in worship of statues, of Mary and of the Pope. Even the Bible became a secret to many by its only being produced in Latin used sparingly by priests. This was the rider on the Black horse, a further time of suffering and hardship for believers. As this age closed and the books wealth and knowledge from the great city of Constantinople moved into western Europe the age of man with knowledge and reasoning was born. The printing press suddenly made the rare old handwritten Bible out of date and with new translations took the written Word of God from the priests and made it available to the people.

Sardis was the next church letter. It's description matched the time of Luther. With the scripture, "The just  shall live by faith" it looked like a clean break from man controlled religion. But as the Lutheran Church it quickly became as authoritarian as the Roman Catholic or the Orthodox Church. It's look of potential for life was false, 

Philadelphia is the only church where there is no fault found. This is the Wesley age, the time of the original Methodist Church and the time of the greatest missionary outreach ever. What was set before them was an open doors and it was a Methodist (Holiness) minister William J Seymour through whom the restoration of spiritual gifts came at the Asuza Street revival in 1906.

Finally there is the Laodicean Church Age. Today so many Christian denominations have left the Bible for social works that the description of Laodicea being neither hot nor cold is very apt. Jesus never said go and help the poor, he told the apostles to preach the gospel. Instead of even doing both many church leaders have left the Bible and turned to politics and peoples rights. Laodicea was a city based in women and individual rights. It's aqueduct was particularly long so that when the towns water arrived it had been heated by the sun to lukewarm. And it is in this age when Jesus Christ is knocking at the church door. In other words Jesus has been put outside the church. William Branham's ministry is the only one to fit the description of Revelation 10 v7 Malachi 4, and the retribution given the Laodicean church in its letter.

In short then the letters to the seven churches in Asia are prophetic descriptions of the state of the church through seven periods of history. The angels are the men who carried God's message for each age. We, of course, are to listen to and act on the message for our day.

4 Seals and the 7 Church Ages Illustration

7 Churches Overview

Ephesus: Messenger Paul; From 52 AD to 150AD

Smryna: Messenger Iraneaes; from 150 AD to 312 AD

Pergamos: Messenger Martin: From 312 AD to 600 AD

Thyatira: Messenger Columba: From 600 to 1520 AD

Sardis: Messenger Luther: From 1520 AD to 1750 AD

Philadelphia: Messenger Wesley: From 1750 to 1906

Laodicea: Messenger Branham: From 1906 to ?