Sure Word of Prophecy
The Seven Churches
WHAT title is given the last book of the Bible?
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ." Rev. 1:1.
To whom do those things which are revealed belong?
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things
which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever."
For what purpose was the Revelation given?
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to
show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." Rev.
What great event, according to this book, is imminent?
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him,
and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail
because of Him." Verse 7.
book not only opens and closes with the subject of Christ’s second
coming, but its eight lines of prophecy all reach down to this as the
great culminating event to the church and the world.
What encouragement is given to study this book?
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the
words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written
therein: for the time is at hand." Verse 3.
To whom was the book dedicated?
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia." Verse 4.
What were the names of these seven churches?
"What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven
churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna,
and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis,
and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." Verse 11.
seven churches, and the messages addressed to them, apply to seven periods
or states of the church reaching from the first to the second advent of
Christ. "Under this emblematical representation of the seven churches
of Asia," says Vitringa, in the "Comprehensive Commentary,"
"the Holy Spirit has delineated seven different states of the
Christian church which would appear in succession, extending to the coming
of our Lord and the consummation of all things." Their good qualities
and their defects are pointed out, with admonitions, exhortations, and
warnings suitable for each, all of which are also applicable to individual
By what title is the first state of the church distinguished?
"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write." Rev.
meaning of Ephesus is desirable, and fitly describes the character
and condition of the church in its first state, when its members received
the doctrine of Christ in its purity, and enjoyed the benefits and
blessings of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This applies to the first
century, or during the lifetime of the apostles. See dates in the
accompanying diagram, showing the beginning and close of the seven
After commending this church for their good works, what charge did the
Lord bring against them?
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left
thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,
and repent, and do the first works." Verse 4, 5.
"first love" is the love of the truth, and the desire of making
it known to others. The "first works" are the fruit of this
What name is given to the second state of the church?
"And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write." Verse
meaning of Smyrna is myrrh, or sweet-smelling savor, and
applies to the period of time when many of the saints of God suffered
martyrdom under pagan Rome.
How is the closing period of tribulation of the church during this time
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the
devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye
shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I
will give thee a crown of life." Verse 10.
most severe of what is commonly known as "the ten persecutions"
under pagan Rome, began under the emperor Diocletian, and continued from
303 A.D. to 313 A.D., a period of ten prophetic days.
What name is given to the third state of the church?
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write." Verse
meaning of Pergamos is height, or elevation, and fitly
represents that period of the Christian church, beginning with the reign
of the emperor Constantine in 313 A.D., when the power which had put the
Christians to death espoused the cause of the church, and by rewards,
edicts, and promised promotions to office in the government, sought to
induce the people to become Christians, thus bringing a flood of
worldliness and corruption into the church. Many of the heathen rites and
ceremonies previously introduced into the Christian religion, including
the heathen festival, Sunday (sun’s day), were then established
by law, resulting in the first day of the week taking the place of the
Sabbath of the Bible.
How was the faithfulness of this church commended?
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat
is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied My faith,
even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain
among you, where Satan dwelleth." Verse 13.
comes from two Latin words, anti, opposed to, and papas,
father, or pope, and denotes a class of people who were opposed to papal
rule. Regarding Pergamos.
What title was given to the fourth state of the church?
"And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write."
means song of labor, or sacrifice of contrition, and points
out the condition of God’s people during the long, dark period of 1260
years, beginning with the establishment of papal supremacy in 538 A.D.,
and closing with the downfall of that power in 1798. During that time,
millions of saints of God were put to death in the most cruel manner that
wicked men and demons could invent. Christi referred to this time in His
wonderful prophecy recorded in Matthew 24, in these words: "For then
shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be
shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those
days shall be shortened." The tribulation of the 1260 years was cut
short through the influence of the Reformation.
What promise did God leave for these persecuted ones?
"But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that
overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power
over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the
vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of
my Father." Verse 25-27.
By what name is the fifth state of the church addressed?
"Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write." Rev. 3:1.
means song of joy, or that which remains. A cause for joy
at that time was the fact that the great tribulation of the people of God
was at an end. It was only as a result of the Reformation that any of God’s
people were left remaining. See Matt. 24:21,22, and note under
question 14. The Sardis church continued from the close of the papal
power, 1798 A.D., until the beginning of the great advent movement in
1833, which was marked by the falling of the stars in November 13 of that
year, as foretold by Christ in Matt. 24:29.
What endearing title is given the sixth church?
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write."
means brotherly love, and applies to the church under the
judgment-hour message. See reading in Chapter 56. of this book.
What words to this church shoe the second advent near?
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that
no man take thy crown." Verse 11.
What is Christ’s message to the last church?
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; . .
. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert
cold or hot. . . . Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing; . . . I counsel thee to buy of me gold
tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou
mayest be clothed. . . . As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent." Verses 14-19.
signifies the judging of the people, or, according to Cruden, a
just people. This church exists in the time of the judgment and the
proclamation of the final warning messages preceding Christ’s second
coming. See Rev. 14:6-16. See readings in Chapters 56. thru 58. of this
book. This is a time of great profession, with but
little vital godliness and true piety.
What encouragement is given to heed this message?
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he
with Me." Verse 20
pointed, searching messages to the seven churches contain most important
lessons of admonition, encouragement, and warning for all Christians in
all ages. The seven promises to the overcomer found in this line of
prophecy (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21), with the eighth or
universal promise recorded in Rev. 21:7, form a galaxy of promises as
precious, as comforting, and as inspiring as any recorded in the
Scriptures. See readings in Chapter 123. and Chapter 193. of this
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