We do not serve a dead Jew in a Palestinian tomb. Christ is control of all of life and all of death. He is the Alpha and the Omega. God will not be mocked.
The book of Revelation always defines itself. If you are confused about its terminology, it will be explained in a later verse or chapter.
The writer compares the 7 churches to 7 candlesticks. They are prominent but need to be lit. The number 7 is a number representing completion. A lot of these churches were in the area of present-day Turkey. They were real churches at that time. But they also represent the history of the church — 7 different eras. We are living in the final era — the era of the lukewarm church.
The church of the Ephesians (circa 30-100) is known as the apostolic age, when the original apostles gradually died off.
The church of Smyrna (100-300) represents the persecuted church.
The church of Pergamum (313-600) represents a prosperous church.
The church of Thyatira (600-1517) occurred during the Dark Ages. This was when the Roman Empire became more of a religious entity. The Inquisition occurred during this area. The church endeavored to keep the Bible away from a common language that common man could understand. It was a bloody period.
The church of Sardis (1517-1649) occurred during the Reformation led by Martin Luther and his 95 theses. Reformation is when God brings His children back to the word of God.
The church of Philadelphia (1649-1900) brought about the two Great Awakenings, when the church began to send out missionaries.
The church of Laodicea (1900-present) is the final church before prophecy is fulfilled. It is known for apostasy. These are the most challenging, dangerous times that have ever been. The church is shackled by apathy.
Ephesus means desirable.
Smyrna means myrrh.
Pergamum means mixed marriage (intermarrying with the world).
Thyatira means white castle. It was a citadel, set upon a hill.
Sardis means escaping ones.
Philadelphia means brotherly love.
Laodicea means the people rule.
Jesus is the pastor of our church. He knows our works. We are lukewarm. God would rather we be either hot or cold, but we are neither, tossed around by every wind of doctrine. We are what people want us to be. The Lord finds the Laodicean (present-day) church revolting. (Lukewarm water isn’t as desirable as either hot water for preparing or cold water for drinking. Lukewarm water is good for neither. This is a microcosm of our spirituality — correct with the culture.)
We aren’t on fire for the Lord but aren’t necessarily denying Him. Revelation describes us as wealthy and in need of nothing. We have no idea how much we need God. We don’t know that we are wretched. We live in misery and apathy, for nothing is more miserable than claiming we know God but live like we don’t. We have lost our vision and burden for the world. We have locked Jesus out and replaced him with manufactured programs that reach no one.
The churches that grow are the ones that go through trying circumstances. The church accepts things that are abominable to God. Those of us who proclaim Biblical morality are considered the haters. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to judge but how to judge when we do judge. Believers are fearful to speak out, having been pushed into a corner of silence. Yet God loves us still and calls us to repent.
God says he literally stands at the door of the church in its last days, still wanting to be let in to save souls. This is not a verse of redemption, but a verse of revival (3:20). Listen to what the Spirit of God says, for the church is listening to everything but the truth.
These are the 7 churches. We are the 7th one. There will not be an 8th. There are two days in God’s calendar: today and that day.