Seven Churches of Asia

When God first instilled into me the desire to become a devotee of church history it was from the reading of the seven churches in Revelation. I had first been taught that the seven churches were seven different church dispensations and when one age ended, the next began. I prayed for the wisdom to understand. God gave me to know that all the churches in these periods represented a panorama of church history and are still around today representing the seven lights that still shine until Jesus comes again. God speaks to us in history, His revelation is progressive.

The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyratira were founded by John the apostle, and formed either directly or indirectly by St. Paul. Much corruption had crept into the seven churches of Asia, but Jesus' was not fully rejected; and not withstanding the declination they had experienced, many enjoyed what was approved of by Him who searched their hearts. Allowing corruption to enter into the churches placed them in eminent danger and they were severely admonished by the Lord to repent and retrace their steps or the candlestick would be removed out of its place.

The church of Smyrna began in the period of the Roman persecutions, ten days represent the ten general persecutions that have been identified in history.

"He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches." This was not just the church only that was then addressed, but "the churches" being all churches of professing Christians to the end of the world, that the obedient may be encouraged and the disobedient corrected. Our knees, then, must bow to Him who thus walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks.

The last church age to appear is the luke-warm Laodicean age without ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the churches. They are in the luke-warm church because they believe what their luke-warm pastors are telling them. They shine as a flicker in the candlestick without seeing past their own small flame. The candlestick in danger of being moved out of its place was that of the Ephesian Church by leaving her first love. That is changing too. Jesus loves all the churches, even though He might not be able to praise them.

Out of the seven churches, five were described by Jesus as being a mixture of good and bad. You cannot deny the good, just because there is bad. You will receive the same judgment as you judge. The church in Pergamos after the persecutions of Smyrna sat in Satan's seat, bad. They held fast to Jesus name and did not deny the faith, good. Two of the seven churches were very good: Smyrna and Philadelphia. Two were very bad: Sardis and Laodicea. Three were part good and part bad: Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira. The two good churches were composed of the humbler classes of people, and were facing persecution. The two bad churches, seem to have included the ruling classes, nominally Christian, but pagan in life. Ephesus was orthodox in teaching, but losing their first love. Pergamum was worldly, but faithful to the name of Jesus. Thyatira was immoral, tolerating Jezebel, but growing in zeal. Asia minor is a term not used by classical writers; it was invented in the middle ages. The entire west coast of Asia minor was colonized by the Greeks.
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