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The 7 Letters to The 7 Churches

These 7 letters (in Revelation) are addressed to us from Jesus Christ. These were physical churches at the time they were penned, but represent the characteristics of churches and individuals today. Even if you don’t belong to a ‘church’, and regardless of your beliefs, one of these letters describes you ... Zonderan Acacamic puts it this way, “if the shoe fits, wear it.”

 Jesus knows what you hold dear in your heart! He is love and He loves you! 

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22

Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30

To aid in understanding:

- The number six is the number of man - We all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

- The number seven represents God

- The number eight represents divine fulfillments, perfection

- The right hand signifies strength, authority, honor.

- Angels are messengers.

Jesus is referred to by many names throughout The Bible. Below are insights to Him and His words as dictated in each of the Letters to the 7 Churches.

Billy Graham said, “The devil’s 3 strategies in all churches are the same:

Persecution, Intellectual (false cults, teachers, prophets), and Moral.

"Satan is infecting many churches today with false teachings in order to prepare the way for the Antichrist." Michael Youssef warns, "So we must be alert and put on the whole armor of God, being grounded in the Truth - God's Word." (see Ephesians 6:10-18)

... because the time is near.

To the Church in Ephesus

"These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands."

In Revelation 1:20, Jesus says that, “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

Adrian Rogers describes the lampstands as a menorah; the central shaft is Jesus Christ, three branches on each side = 6, which is the number of man; Jesus and God's people together = the light of the world fed by the oil of the Holy Spirit.

Zonderan Academic describes the letter to Ephesus as a warning “against false teachers and evil in the world and admonishes for having forsaken their first love. Tempted by rigidity and lovelessness.” Billy Graham says the loss of first love is “… lost love for the souls of men,” because Jesus should be our first love." David Jeremiah describes the church of Ephesus as being “good on the outside, but inwardly having heart trouble.” As Michael Youssef put it, "There are five dangers that result from allowing our love for Jesus to fail; “compromise, complacency, coldness, complaining and craving the world.”

"Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you."

Deuteronomy 4:2 

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:9-11

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Matthew 10:28

To the Church in Smyrna

"These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."

In Revelation 22:13, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” And in John 11:25, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Zonderan Academic says the church of Smyrna represents “those who are impoverished yet rich, persecuted, and will, like Jesus, find life (everlasting) in death.” The chief export from Smyrna was myrrh (a spice used in embalming). “The Christians there were being crushed.” Says Michael Youssef. “If you are suffering for the Lord and sacrificing for Him, then you can be comforted in knowing that He knows your afflictions. You are storing up riches in heaven ... All those who suffer for Christ's sake will be spared from the second death."

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death."

Revelation 20:14

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8


"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me (Jesus)."

Matthew 5:10-11

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

John 6:35 

"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7:38 

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

John 20:31 

To the Church in Pergamum

"These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword."

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the Word of God (The Holy Bible) is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Billy Graham said The Church in Pergamum “represents the danger of theological compromise.” David Jeremiah observes, “Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, satan will be there to try to corrupt the truth.” In “Matthew 28:19-20, "Our Lord instructed the disciples to take the Church into all the world." Jack Kelley adds, “in Pergamum, the world came into the church.” 

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron."

1 Timothy 4:1

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."

Ephesians 2:1-2

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."

Proverbs 30:5-6

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."

Exodus 20:3-4

To the Church in Thyatira

"These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze."

1 John 5:1 states, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well."

In Daniel 10:6, Daniel tells us that while he was the only one who had the vision, "those with him were overcome with terror and hid themselves." He reveals, “His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”

Zonderan academic says, “Thyatira’s Christians were inviting compromise from economic pressure." David Jeremiah adds, “allowing an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ.” Billy Graham said “We live in a permissive society.” John MacArthur warns “churches throughout history have defied the will of the Lord and tolerated sin in many forms, and that is the case even now.”

"The spirit of Jezebel destroys churches," Michael Youssef offers, " and Jesus will punish false teachers like Jezebel."

"Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen"

Romans 1:22-25

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

2 Peter 2:1-3

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

Matthew 7:15

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."

Proverbs 30:5-6

To the Church in Sardis

"These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars."

Revelation 4:5 describes the seven spirits, “From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.”

“The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20

Sardis is described as the dead church.

Michael Youssef says that, like the church of Sardis, “Many churches have abandoned what they have received and heard. They deny that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They deny the truth of the resurrection. They deny the authority of Scripture. The Bible says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)” Billy Graham said,  “that outward appearances are deceiving.” Charles Spurgeon referred to this church as “fashionable,” and that he was “positive that the sin of this age is impurity of doctrine, and laxity of faith.” 

The coexist movement (accepting all beliefs systems) would fit comfortably in this church.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Matthew 7:13-14

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."

Proverbs 16:25

"Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

This calls for wisdom ..."

Revelation 13:14-18

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

James 1:22-24

To the Church in Philadelphia

"These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David."

Philippians 2:9-11 reveals, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

In John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In Isaiah 22:22, God proclaims, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

Philadelphia is known as the church of brotherly love. Jack Kelley said, "The Church in Philadelphia, receiving no criticism, is also granted admission (into heaven). This is symbolic of the fact that for those saved by grace through faith." 

“He (Jesus) himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed."

1 Peter 2:24

"Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God ... and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith."

1 John 5:4-5

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

2 Corinthians 5:21

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."

Isaiah 53:5

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

To the Church in Laodicea

“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation."

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

Revelation 1:5 states, “and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”

In Revelation 19:11,

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.

Colossians 1:15-18 proclaims, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”

Jack Kelly said, “The Church of Laodicea looks like a church and do some things that a church does, but you won’t detect the power of the Holy Spirit there, and the gospel of our salvation is only obvious by its absence.” According to Zonderan Academic, “The point of lukewarm water is simply that it is disgusting, in contrast to the more directly useful ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ water. I read that “the water supply of Laodicea brought water which was literally lukewarm and so impure as to have an emetic effect.” Adrian Rogers explains, "Lukewarmness is not weakness; it is wickedness. It is not a small sin; it is a great sin. If the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, then the greatest sin is not to do so." Billy Graham offered, “This Church represents the problems of complacency.” David Jeremiah adds they are “Lacking in every way. Rich in worldly riches. Spiritually blind and spiritually compromised.” Michael Youssef warns, as Jesus states in Revelation 3:20, “Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. If you refuse to let Him in, He will let you have your way – and you will bear the consequences.”

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.

But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from."

Luke 13:24-30 

"Jesus will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction."

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 

"All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world."

Revelation 13:8

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin ..."

2 Chronicles 7:14

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

1 John 4:1-3

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come."

Ephesians 1:17-21

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Mark 4:9

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