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Monday, August 22 2011
Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?
The "book" of Revelation is actually a letter, originally written by the apostle John to contemporary (i.e. existing at the same time) Christians in seven cities in what is today western Turkey. At the time of the writing, John was being held as a prisoner of the Romans on the island of Patmos, just off the nearby coast (see the map below).
John physically wrote the letter, but Jesus Christ was the author.
"1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, 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.
While some have decided for themselves that those seven churches were successive church "eras" over the past 2,000 years (such an interpretation has been a particular favorite of various mind-control cults who today claim themselves to be just one of those churches - it's their primary psychological tactic that they use to dominate their members i.e. "if you leave or get put out from us, you lose your salvation because we are the only true church"), those real-life seven churches existed at the same time that John sent those letters to them. As well, the attitudes and behavior that the LORD addressed about them has always existed, right from that ancient time to the present. Anyone who honestly and humbly reads what the Messiah wrote to those people (as it was actually written in the Holy Scriptures, "church" means a group of people - nothing more) can recognize, from all of the seven, people and attitudes that exist today, even within some single large group of Christians.
"These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God"
The people at Ephesus were diligent, vigorous Christians who had problems with ambitious men who claimed themselves to be "apostles," but the people there were not fooled: "thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." They nevertheless were affected by it and had declined from the Word of God to the word of a man.
"2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2:2 I know thy works [see Works Means Obedience], and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars [see The Warning About Grievous Wolves and False Christs and Anti-Christs]: 2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
The people of Smyrna were Christians who remained true to the LORD at great cost to themselves in persecution. Unlike the rich Christians of Ephesus, the Christians of Smyrna were financially poor.
"2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are The Synagogue of Satan. 2:10 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 [see What Happens When You Die? and When Will You Be Judged?], and I will give thee a crown of life.
The people of Pergamos (or Pergamum) were also Christians who held strong amidst great persecution, but they decided for themselves that the dietary laws were "done away." They were also lax in their morality - to which the LORD commanded them to repent.
"2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 2:13 I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is [see Satan's Throne]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr [see Martyrs], who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
The people at Thyatira were overall very righteous, but unlike the people of Ephesus who had male misleaders, the people of Thyatira had female misleaders who were creating an environment of sexual and spiritual immorality - and of ignoring the dietary laws (the two carnal-level "pleasures" of illicit sex and unclean food are often found together). "New truth" was also being introduced even though God warns not to add humanistic ideas to His Truth "22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18 KJV)
"2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works [see Faith and Works]; and the last to be more than the first.
Most of the people of Sardis were Christians who had grown weary of overcoming, to which the LORD commanded them to "strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die."
"3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God [see Perfection]. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast [see Bulwarks Of The Truth], and Repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee [see Could Christ Return Tonight?].
The people of Philadelphia were Christians who were faithful and active in their preaching, but many among them were make-believe Jews. It's good to be a Jew, if you're a Jew, but acting like someone that you're not is foolish - and unnecessary. Christianity is equally open to everyone, Jew or "gentile," male or female, from any nation on earth. True Christianity isn't about where, or from whom, by sheer chance, you happened to be born, but what you do with the Truth after God gives it to you.
"3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth [see The Keys To The Kingdom]; 3:8 I know thy works [see Works Means Obedience]: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 3:9 Behold, I will make them of The Synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth [see Never Before, Never Again].
The people of Laodicea were Christians who had become "politically correct" and timid (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?) in an effort to live in peace with a world that hates the Truth.
"3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God [see Christ The Creator]; 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 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, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Fact Finder: Where is "revelation" to all Christians also found, before the Book of Revelation?
This Day In History, August 22
565: Columba, a prominent Irish monk of the Church of Rome, reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness - one of the earliest of such recorded "sightings."
1138: The English battled the Scots at Cowton Moor. Banners of various supposed "saints" were carried into battle, which led to its being called the Battle of the Standard.
1350: John II, also known as John the Good, succeeded Philip VI as king of France.
1485: Richard III of England was defeated and killed at The Battle of Bosworth Field, the last of the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York.
1567: The Duke of Alba, sent to re-establish Spanish authority in the Netherlands, instituted the Council of Troubles at the start of his tyrannical rule. It was nicknamed the "Council of Blood."
1642: The Civil War in England began between the supporters of Charles I ("Royalists" or "Cavaliers") and of Parliament ("Roundheads").
1846: The U.S. annexed (a political term meaning "take by conquest; as of territory") New Mexico from Mexico.
1864: The Geneva Convention for the protection of the wounded during times of active warfare was signed, leading to the formation of the Red Cross.
1910: Korea was annexed by Japan after five years as a protectorate.
1922: Irish politician and Sinn Fein leader Michael Collins was killed in an ambush. He was largely responsible for the 1921 Anglo-Irish treaty.
1939: Foreign ministers Molotov of Russia and Ribbentrop of Germany signed a non-aggression pact which paved the way for the German invasion of western Poland and for Russia to take eastern Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Germany and Russia soon thereafter declared war on each other.
1941: Nazi troops reached the outskirts of Leningrad. They eventually surrounded the city on September 8 at the start of the siege which lasted until January 1944.
1942: Brazil declared war on the Axis powers. It is the only South American country to send combat troops into Europe during the Second World War.
1944: German officer Heinz Stahlschmidt deliberately blew up a bunker full of detonators, effectively preventing the planned destruction of Bordeaux by his own retreating German army.
1968: Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit Latin America, in Colombia.
1971: Bolivian President General Juan Jose Torres Gonzalez was deposed in a coup by Colonel Hugo Banzer Suarez.