The Book of Revelation opens in chapters 2 and 3 with the letters from Jesus to seven churches IN CHRISTENDOM. In these letters, He acknowledges what these churches are doing right, where they are going astray and He counsels them as to how to get back on track.
Jesus additionally ADDRESSES THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS IN EACH church, commending them for seeing through the fog of doctrinal teachings to the core message of the gospel, challenging them to withstand and overcome. The believers, in the fellowship and its leaders, are the intended audience of His letters.
The Lord's purpose is to FOCUS ON THE LEADERSHIP of these churches, ADMONISHING THEM TO CHECK THEIR HEARTS on what they are teaching His flock and where HIS CORE MESSAGE OF SALVATION may be getting lost in their mix of doctrinal interpretations.
These SEVEN churches HAVE HISTORICAL ROOTS AS ACTUAL churches that existed in the Roman province of Asia. The churches are addressed by the city that they were located in.
THERE ARE ALSO PROPHETIC APPLICATIONS in these letters. One application is that the SEVEN churches REPRESENT DIFFERENT AGES IN church HISTORY and that they are progressive. This interpretation holds that AT THE END OF DAYS, TWO MAIN TRAITS will remain that Christendom is either going to be VERY ALIVE or VERY DEAD (apostate) in their teachings a very black and white approach to the Lord's warnings.
This article is written as a study of different prophetic applications on these writings, the interpretation holding that each of these seven church characteristics is alive and well today. The intent is to look past the black and white interpretation of right and wrong and DELVE INTO THE LORD'S MANY WARNINGS ABOUT ALL OF THE VARIOUS SHADES OF GREY.
The Lord cautions, over and over in the Bible, about false prophets and false teachers. The purpose of these letters is to address the churches with the Lord's specific concerns as to the unsound doctrines and practices that have invaded them, and put the flock at risk. Given the following warnings from the Lord about false teachers in the end days, I would think that people would look beyond their comfort zone and compare their approach to the Biblical core teachings in scripture.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
There are FIVE ELEMENTS to each of the letters in scripture and they are as follows:
- PRAISE: what the Lord is pleased with
- CONDEMNATION: what the Lord is upset about
- ADVICE: to the leaders of the group as to how to get back on track
- CHALLENGE: to the true believers within the group, to hold fast and overcome
- APPLICATION: is subjective based on the characteristics and symptoms presented in the scripture.
THE LORD'S PURPOSE IN WRITING THESE LETTERS WAS NOT FOR PEOPLE TO SIT AROUND AND POINT FINGERS. HIS PURPOSE WAS FOR ALL TO TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT THE FOCUS OF THEIR DOCTRINAL STANCE AND TEACHINGS THEY EMBRACE INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A GROUP FELLOWSHIP.
The Lord tells us that he has sent us out as sheep amongst the wolves,
that we are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).
Additionally, he counsels that we will know false teachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:20).
We are also to study the scriptures to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).
And we are to try every teaching to see if it is from God (1 John 4:1).
The information above is based upon Christine Peters' original article,
which may be found in its entirety at: Rapture Ready