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Revelation 2-3: The 7 Churches

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Introduction

A prophetic and historic discussion of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (The 7 Churches).

The Seven Churches

There are several interpretations of what the 7 Churches represent. The three I have heard the most are the following:

  1. The churches represent 7 types of Christians
  2. They are specific to the churches at that time; and
  3. They represent ages of church history

Honestly, the way prophecy works in the Word and from what I have studied, I believe all three interpretations hold. God is a master at weaving in spiritual, prophetic, and literal meanings into every passage; it is just another sign of His superiority. As such, we will talk about all three interpretations in this post. Before diving in to the 7 Churches, it is important to note that during the time John penned this, there were many other churches; some of which were larger than the churches listed.

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Ephesus (The Loveless Church)

Epeshus is talked about in verses 1-7. Below are the attributes associated with it:

Pros

  • perseverance
  • labors
  • can’t tolerate evil
  • testing those who say they are apostles
  • hate the deeds of the Nicolatians

Cons

  • left their first love
  • neglected their first works

The Literal Church of Ephesus

The Nicolatians believed all they had to do was claim to believe in Christ, but they could go on behaving the way they wanted.

The Spiritual Church of Ephesus

The Prophetic Church of Ephesus

30AD to 100AD (Church Age)

Smyrna (The Persecuted Church)

Smyrna is one of two churches that is not chatised for anything. They are praised for their ways and given a message of hope to endure to the end. Smyrna is offed reffered to as the persecuted church or the suffering church. Not surprisingly, the Smyrna actually means myrrh. Myrrh was associated with death, as it was great for embalming bodies. They are told to remain faithful unto the death.

Pros

  • Works
  • Tribulation
  • Poverty (but they were rich)

Cons

The Literal Church of Smyrna

Ephesus had to deal with people claiming to be apostles when they werent, and Smyrna delt with something similar. This time God refers to those who say they are Jews but are not. One could (and people do) take this to mean various things. It could be a reference to people literally claiming to have Israelite blood but not actually having that blood. It could be a reference to those who are Jewish by birth but not following God. Or It could be broader and include the newly converted believers, meaning someone who professes to be of God but is walking in the Spirit.

The Spiritual Church of Smyrna

The Prophetic Church of Smyrna

What stands out prophetically in Revelation 2:8-11 is that there is a period of increased persecution. God gives this time period as ten daysβ€”in many cases of prophecy, a day is given for a year (), so this would actually be a reference to 10 years. Picking up where the prophetic Church of Ephesus left off, Smyrna would start at around 100ad. During this time Christianity was illegal, and all Roman subjects were supposed to be worshipping the gods of Rome. Persecution occurred on and off at the local level for quite some time, however, the wrath of Roman spotlighted on Christianity in the 200s when Diocletian became emperor. Diocletian started with purging Christians from certain positions and evenually declared an edict to persecute Christians in early 303ad. This time is actually referred to as "the Great Persecution." It is generally accepted that this new wave of heavy persecution ended with the Edict of Milan in 313, exactly 10 years later. Many were martyred and/or thrown in prision during this time.

Pergamum (The Compromised Church)

The Literal Church of Pergamum

The Spiritual Church of Pergamum

The Prophetic Church of Pergamum

Thyatira (The Corrupt Church)

The Literal Church of Thyatira

The Spiritual Church of Thyatira

The Prophetic Church of Thyatira

Sardis (The Dead Church)

The Literal Church of Sardis

The Spiritual Church of Sardis

The Prophetic Church of Sardis

Philadelphia (The Faithful Church)

The Literal Church of Philadelphia

The Spiritual Church of Philadelphia

The Prophetic Church of Philadelphia

1740-1844

Laodicea (The Lukewarm Church)

The Literal Church of Laodicea

The Spiritual Church of Laodicea

The Prophetic Church of Laodicea

(1844-Present?) From a prophetic standpoint, Laodicea represents the church of today; they church that is present when Christ comes back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletianic_Persecution https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/diocletian-persecution

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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on June 1, 2015 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

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Nehemiah 7-11: Restoration of Jerusalem
NehemiahChapter StudyTithesGenealogyRepentance and ForgivenessSalvationFeasts & Holy Days
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Esther 8-10: Purim
EstherChapter StudyPurimFeasts & Holy Days
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Nehemiah 12-13: Dedication of the Wall
NehemiahChapter Study
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Ezra 2: Those Who Returned
Chapter StudyEzraGenealogy
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Nehemiah 4-6: Opposition
NehemiahChapter StudyMoneySatan
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Nehemiah 3: Rebuilding the Wall
NehemiahChapter StudyJerusalemWomenMessianic Prophecy
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Nehemiah 2: Back to Jerusalem
NehemiahChapter StudyApologeticsJerusalemLeadershipPersia
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Nehemiah 1: Who is Nehemiah?
Chapter StudyNehemiahJudahPersiaCaptivityJerusalemLeadership
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Esther 6&7: Victory
EstherChapter StudyWomenPersia
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Esther 3-5: The Threat to the Jews
EstherChapter StudyWomenFastingRacismGenocide
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Esther 2: The Rise of Queen Esther
EstherChapter StudyBenjaminWomenPersia
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Do Not Bear False Witness
CommandmentsFalse Deities and ProphetsLaw
πŸ“–
Judges 1: Judah’s Conquest
Chapter StudyJudgesCanaanJudah
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Judges 2: Provoking God
JudgesChapter StudyFalse Deities and ProphetsCommandmentsCanaan
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Judges 3: Othniel and Ehud
JudgesChapter StudyCanaanFalse Deities and ProphetsRelationshipsCaptivityBenjaminMoabAmalakites
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Judges 4-5: Deborah, Jael, and Barak
JudgesChapter StudyDeborahWomenLeadership
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Judges 6-8: Gideon
JudgesChapter StudyManassehMidianAmalakitesHoly SpiritEphraim
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The Unnamed Concubine
Character StudyJudgesWomenSexual Assault
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Judges 9-10: Abimelech
JudgesChapter Study
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Judges 10-12: Jephthath
JudgesChapter StudyAmmonEphraimOaths and Vows
πŸ“–
Judges 13-16: Samson
JudgesChapter StudyRelationshipsSamsonWomenPhilistineOaths and VowsDan
πŸ“–
Judges 17-18: Micah and the Tribe of Dan
JudgesChapter StudyDanMoneyLeviFalse Deities and ProphetsTheft
πŸ“–
Acts 1-5: The Early Days of the Church
Chapter StudyActsCainAbelDiscipleshipLyingProphecyMoneyThe ChurchPeterTheft
πŸ“–
Acts 9: From Saul to Paul
ActsChapter StudyPaulRepentance and ForgivenessHoly SpiritTheft
πŸ“–
Judges 19-21: A Call to War
JudgesChapter StudySexual AssaultWomenLeviBenjamin
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 21-24: Contradictions on David's Final Days?
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidSaulDoctrinePhilistine
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 19-20: Israel and Judah
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidDivision of Israel
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 5-10: David’s Military Success
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidRelationshipsMessianic Prophecy
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 1-4: After Saul’s Death
2 SamuelChapter StudySaulDavidDivision of Israel
πŸ“–
Acts 16: Timothy Was Biracial…Sort Of
ActsChapter StudyTimothyGenealogyCircumcisionPaulWomenBaptism
πŸ“–
Acts 15: Disagreements in the Church
ActsChapter StudyPaulPeterLeadershipCommandmentsSalvationCircumcisionRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ“–
Acts 13-14: The First Missionary Journey of Paul
ActsChapter StudyLeadershipThe ChurchPaulGenealogyDiscipleship
πŸ“–
Acts 12: Peter, Rhoda, and Herod
ActsChapter StudyWomenPeterPersecutionRomeHolidayPassover
πŸ“–
Acts 6-8 & 10-11: The Transition
ActsChapter StudyCommunicationPaulLeadershipBaptismThe ChurchPeterEthiopiaFalse Deities and ProphetsSymbolism
πŸ“–
Daniel 1: Taken to Babylon
DanielBabylonCaptivityNebuchadnezzarFastingChapter Study
πŸ“–
Obadiah 1: Woe to Edom
Chapter StudyObadiahEdomProphecy
πŸ“–
Esther 1: The Demise of a Queen
WomenEstherPersiaChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 4: The Legacy
RuthChapter StudyWomenBoazMessiahRahabTamarGenealogy
πŸ“–
Ruth 3: The Redeeming Relative
RelationshipsBoazRuthChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 2: The Fields of Boaz
PovertyRelationshipsBoazRuthChapter StudyAllegoryMessiah
πŸ“–
Ruth 1: In the Land of Moab
Chapter StudyRuthWomenMoabBoazRelationshipsFamine
πŸ‘€
Mediate Like Abigail
Abigail1 SamuelDavidCharacter StudyWomenYouTube
πŸ‘€
Tamar, daughter of David
Character StudyTamarWomenSexual Assault2 Samuel
πŸ‘€
Amnon
2 SamuelCharacter StudyDavidTamarSexual ImoralitySexual Assault
πŸ‘€
Absalom
2 SamuelCharacter Study
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 13-19: Absalom’s Coup
Chapter Study2 SamuelDavidRelationshipsTamarWomenSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Colossians 2
Food and DietClean and UncleanColossians
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Romans 14
Food and DietClean and UncleanRomans
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Acts 10
Food and DietActsPeterDiscipleship
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: 1 Timothy 4:1-7
1 TimothyTimothyFood and DietClean and Unclean
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Mark 7:15
Food and DietClean and UncleanMatthewMark
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Isaiah 66
Food and DietClean and UncleanIsaiahProphecy
πŸ“
Why β€˜The Bride of Christ’ is the Perfect Description
RelationshipsRevelationMessiahProphecy
❓
Would You Rather?: Betray or Deny
Would You RatherJudasPeterRepentance and ForgivenessLuke
❓
Would You Rather?: Feed vs. Heal
Would You RatherSpiritual GIftsJohnMatthew
❓
Would You Rather?: Marriage vs. Singleness
Would You RatherRelationshipsLoveRepentance and ForgivenessHoseaPaul
❓
Would You Rather?: Rahab vs. Mary
Would You RatherRahabMary & JosephWomen
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Theme
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Tragic Hero
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Zoomorphism
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Utopia
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Tragedy
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Tragic Flaw
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Subplot
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Round Character
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Synecdoche
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Symbolism
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Rising Action
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Retorical Question
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Resolution
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Romance
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Plot Twist
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Rebuttal
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Proverb
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Refrain and Repetition
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Plot
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Prologue
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Protagonist
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Pleonasm
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Logos
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Parrhesia
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Personification
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Pathos
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Passive Voice
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Perspective
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Nemesis
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Parallelism
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Omniscient
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Ode
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Non Sequitur
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Parable
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Paradox
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Irony
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Motif
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Intertextuality
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Narrative
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Narrator
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Juxtaposition
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Metonymy
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Jargon
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Inciting Incident
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Imagery
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In Media Res
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Hyperbole
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Illusion
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Idiom
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Homily
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Hypophora
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Flat Character
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Flash Back
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Foil
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Frame Story
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Foreshadowing
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Hero
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External Conflict
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Flash Forward
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Exposition
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Etymology
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Existentialism
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Extended Metaphor
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Exaggeration
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Evidence
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Euphemism
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Enthymeme
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Epilogue
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Elegy
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Epithet
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Enumeration
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Ethos
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Epistle
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Epiphany
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Digression
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Diatribe
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Dialogue
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Dysphemism
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Dynamic Character
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Dilemma
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Dystopia
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Conflict
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Concession
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Comparison and Contrast Essay
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Deus Ex Machina
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Context
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Deuteragonist
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Connotation
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Coherence
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Cliff Hanger
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Colloquialism
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Climax
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Comedy
Literary Devices
πŸ™πŸ½
PSALMS to God is a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel that discusses many topics and issues, always keeping YHWH as the anchor. Hosea 4:6 says β€œMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”—here, the aim is to always ask questions and study to find the answers. You can keep up with new content by signing up for the weekly newsletter.
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