5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. NIV

Philadelphia, the Faithful Church (3:7-13);

Revelation 3:7-13

7 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. NIV

and Laodicea, the Lukewarm Church (3:14-22).



Revelation 3:14-22

14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

16 So, because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." NIV


The Roman province of Asia included more churches than these seven. Why did John single them out?

One theory is that these seven cities may have been centers of seven postal districts. These seven churches all stand on the great circular road which formed a rough circle around the west central part of the Roman province of Asia. As such, these seven sites served as good centers of communication for the surrounding districts. Letters in the first century had to be handwritten, and a letter sent to one church would be passed on to be read by Christians in other congregations.

The letters to the seven churches called for the Christians to repent of sin and return to faithfulness and good works; encouraged them to stand firm for Christ against the temptations, trials, and persecutions of the Roman Empire; and promised specific rewards to the martyrs who faced death without denying Christ.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)






Each letter is addressed to the "angel" of the church, and those angels were seen in the right hand of the risen Christ in the vision of 1:16,20. It is uncertain whether these are angelic beings or the human leaders of those churches.

Though the word "angel" clearly means messenger, it can refer to a superhuman being, that is, to the guardian angel for each church. Or it may refer to a human messenger, that is, to the human leader (pastor) of each church (see Mark 1:2; Luke 9:52; and James 2:25 for the use of "angel" as designating human beings).


(from Basic Theology, Copyright 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie.)

Revelation 1:16

16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and from His mouth there came forth a sharp two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full power at midday. [Exodus 34:29.] AMP

Revelation 1:20

20 As to the hidden meaning (the mystery) of the seven stars which you saw on My right hand and the seven lampstands of gold: the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven assemblies (churches) and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. AMP

Mark 1:2

2 Just as it is written in the prophet Isaiah: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will make ready Your way [Malachi 3:1.] AMP

Luke 9:52

52 And He sent messengers before Him; and they reached and entered a Samaritan village to make [things] ready for Him; AMP

James 2:25

25 So also with Rahab the harlot was she not shown to be justified (pronounced righteous before God) by [good] deeds when she took in the scouts (spies) and sent them away by a different route? [Joshua 2:1-21.] AMP





Revelation 1:19

Chapters 2 and 3


The Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn was a man with a cheerful disposition, despite the fact that he was married to an exceedingly bitter and malicious woman. She continually belittled both Haydn and his music. Several times, purely out of spite, she stole the only existing copies of his musical scores from his desk and destroyed them.

Haydn spent much of his career traveling around Europe partly because his talents were in such demand throughout the Continent, but also because travel gave him time away from his disagreeable wife. During one extended visit to England, an acquaintance visited Haydn in his rented room in London. This friend noticed a large stack of unopened letters on Haydn's desk and asked the composer why he did not open his mail.

"All of those letters are from my wife," Haydn jovially explained. "We write to each other every week, but I do not open her letters, and I am quite sure she does not open mine."

In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 we find a stack of letters, seven in all, which have largely lain ignored and unopened by the Christian church over the years. As one Bible scholar laments, "Many casual worshipers in Christian churches today who are quite familiar with the Sermon on the Mount are not aware of the existence of these seven messages of Christ."

I find that many people tend to skip over these seven letters to the churches, so eager are they to hurry on to those juicy, action-packed, blood-and-thunder sections of Revelation. We would rather hear about the great cataclysms of the last days than be confronted with the urgent challenge of our own present moment. How tragic!

These seven letters to seven churches are powerful letters, burning with urgency. Their message is still as vital and timely today as when first written. So many ills of our churches in the 1990 s could be cured if we would only listen with attentive ears to the message Jesus gave us through the pen of John nearly 2,000 years ago.

In these letters, our Lord outlines for us His plan for the church. He shows us that He has set His church in the midst of the world. It is His instrument to impact and direct the course of human history. Jesus calls the church "the light of the world" and "the salt of the earth." The apostle Paul calls it

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36