The Seven Churches of Acts and Revelation
Extracts and comments from Revelation Chp. 1:11 & 1:20(c)
Saying, "(b)I am Alpha and Omega the first and last", "(a)What thou seest write in a scroll, and send it unto the seven Churches; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyma, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea".
(b) See Verse 8(a).
(a) The 7 Churches are almost certainly a continuation of the first part of the Acts period (i.e. up to Acts 28:28, approx. A.D. 60-61).
The Holy Spirit had been given at Pentecost, for all the special actions of evangelism and resisting Satan, which included Spiritual warfare, healing of the sick, speaking in foreign languages etc., and whatever other purpose helped the Jewish community build the new Nation. The Jews were still "Ammi", (My people), and the Jewish leaders were still trying to decide whether to accept the Apostle Paul's teaching. Although many individual Jews and Gentiles had accepted, it is conditional in Scripture for the leadership and particularly the Priesthood to accept the provision of Jehovah in Christ Jesus, as their Messiah! See: Apostle Paul (Zech. and other ref.). When at Acts 28:28 the leadership rejected Christ, Paul turned to the Gentiles. At that stage, the powers of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn in the sense described above. Paul could no longer heal, and his teaching emphasis changed, as is evidenced in His last 7 letters, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, and 1&2 Timothy. At approximately the same time, the Jewish Nation became "Lo- Ammi", (not My people), and Jehovah via the Romans razed the Temple in Jerusalem, and dispersed the Jews worldwide, and the Gentile Age began. See: GIFTS AT PENTECOST .
The main points which can be legitimately taught and preached since that time are; Christ is the only way of Salvation for those that believe (Acts 4:12 and John 3:16). He will return to Earth, when His enemies are made His footstool (Psm.110:1, Matt. 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:43, Acts 2:35 and Heb. 1:13). He will judge the Nations at His return (Matt. 25:32). He will Rule from Jerusalem for 1000 years (Revelation, and many Old Testament Prophesies), see: Millennial Purpose.
There are many false teachings now current. One of the most prevalent states that its adherents have access to the power of the Holy Spirit, and can by prayer do any of the miraculous things described above. They claim to have the powers of the early Acts period, but have been proved to be without veracity. However, strange events have occurred, in parts of the world, and many are most likely to be Enemy activity. As the critical prophetic events regarding Israel approach, it is probable that these happenings will increase in volume, as it is the Enemy's intention to prove himself to be the Christ!
Our Lord can and does help His people, but not in our opinion in open show. The logical conclusion of such claims described above, is that no one would die! (The logic is that as Charismatics prayed for each other in infirmity or near death situations, their answered prayer would give continuing life to the patient). It would also render unnecessary the Loving death sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour, and people would not have to choose!! The movement described above is often called Charismatic. It has had other names throughout the last 2000 years. From A.D. 200 to A.D. 1000 approx. it was called "Montanism" (Britannica). In the 1900s it emerged as "Pentecostalism". This was started by a Mrs. McPherson, and many of the current movements are offshoots of that event. They all claim miraculous powers, but are undoubtedly impostors.
Interestingly, historically they have emerged at critical times for the True Church and the future Israel. It is noticeable that in many cases women are prominent in the activities of Charismatic groups. The current resurgence is also clearly critical, as Israel draws closer to the critical "Covenant", Dan. 9:27.
The above is laboured to show that false spiritual activity is diverting attention from real events, and the Truth, and the real situation that will prevail with the 7 Churches. See: Prophecy and Prophets; also Charismatic Teachings.
John's receiving and writing of Revelation was almost certainly between AD 50-60, as the persecution of the Christians did not accelerate until then, (i.e. "on Patmos"). Also, he did not mention the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 69-70, which to the Jew, was a catastrophe beyond measure. As the reading continues, it is apparent that as the Lord's Second Advent was disqualified at Acts 28.28, there is yet to be a similar period prior to the Lord's return, which as regards the Synagogues (Churches) is described in the first three Chapters of Revelation, and also in Matt. 24, Mk. 13 and Luke 21. The prophecy of Elijah's return as forerunner (Mal. 4:5), must be completed, as John the Baptist could not take that role, due to the rejection of Jesus as Messiah, (Acts 28:26-27) and many feel that he is one of the two "witnesses" of Rev. 11:3.
The secret symbol of (a)the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and (b)the seven golden candlesticks. (a)The seven stars signify angels of the seven Churches; and (c)the seven candlesticks are seven Churches.
(c) "Menorah"; the 7 branched candlestick, the Menorah, is exclusively Jewish. Many Jewish homes have a prominent place for it. Very few, if any know its true symbolism, (Ex. 25: 31-40), and (Zech. 4.2, where the context shows the lamp (Menorah), linked to the Temple in Jerusalem). This is apparently confirmation that the Jews are in a process of re-adoption, or just before that event to (Ammi = My people) i.e. the time is the 70th week of the vision given to Daniel.
It is clear that this is now a very special period of time. The 7 groups (Synagogues), (Churches), are to give and be given light ("meaning"), (explanation and empowerment for "overcoming")! Their light will shine when their "works" to "overcome" are succeeding. The close proximity to the groups by Christ / Messiah / Jehovah, each with a special spirit / angel contact / messenger / overseer, is reminiscent of Ancient Israel, Pentecost, and the time after, prior to Acts 28:28.
The reason for the location of the groups, (now in Western Turkey), is that as the apostle Paul knew, Ancient Greece produced the most prolific pagan worship system (later adopted by Rome as usual), which needed the most countering at source by the most able minister, Paul. Also, earlier, the Babylonian priesthood had removed to Pergamum at the destruction of Babylon by the Persians; which affected the Greeks and the Romans and their religions.
Paul stated that he was "apostle to the Gentiles", (Rom. 15:16) as opposed to Christ the minister to the Jews, (Rom. 15:8), therefore he went to the source and centre of the most prolific Satanic action in the Gentile world, and was acting on the direct instructions of Christ. The same epi-centre will be current in the times, yet future, that are here described, (Chp. 13) but the 7 "Churches" will be sustained by Christ directly, via the "star", when they request the Holy Spirit enabling that is promised by the risen Lord, see above. The earlier Chapters of Zech. seem directly related to these events.
Paul's ability and learning made him at that time probably the most learned of the young rabbis (teachers). In fact in his testimony before Agrippa, (Acts 25 & 26), he made a point of mentioning that he had been taught by Gamaliel, who was one of the most revered teachers of the Law ever in Israel. His head knowledge was beyond dispute, and together with his even more important quality, (his heartfelt dedication), led him to persecute to death the early Christians. These very qualities, (particularly the Lord's knowledge of his sincere heart), led to that most favoured of pronouncements from the Lord; "he is a chosen vessel!" (Acts 9:15). Also, as shown in his testimony before Agrippa, the Lord made it clear at their encounter on the Damascus road, that He would be in constant contact with him, and that later instructions would be forthcoming from Him. Those instructions were withheld until the Jews had finally rejected Christ (Acts 28:28). The last seven of Paul's writings (Eph., Phil., Col., Tim. 1 & 2, Titus and Philemon), give the change of emphasis in the Gentile period, which is from Acts 28:28, until sometime in the future, when the Body of Christ is taken to Him, (The Rapture). It is the writers opinion that this takes place prior to "Ammi", (My people) condition of the Jews, but there is much dispute and difference of opinion on this.
Paul was a "chosen vessel", (Acts 9:15), to give Israel guidance and understanding, into the "Kingdom Age". When they rejected, he became 100% "the Apostle to the Gentiles" (Romans 11:13). This statement refutes the oft made comment by some Church leaders and teachers, that "Paul's teaching, and Christ's teaching contradict"! They do in fact interlink, as what Paul said were/are the Words of Christ! The so-called "conflict", in fact does not exist, except in the wrong teaching of some modern day Shepherds worldwide, which will incur eventually the same wrath from God, as the "false Shepherds of Israel"! (See: Bible Dispensations).
Different groups were being addressed by Jesus and Paul. Jesus was sent to Israel only! When they reject Him as Messiah; (Acts 28:28), the Salvation message was then directed to the Gentiles; and still is at this date (2016).
In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and his colleagues continued Christ's mission to the Jews, until the rejection of Acts 28:28. Christ then gave Paul instruction re. his new mission to the Gentiles, with the Gentile now prime object, whereas up to Acts 28:28, the Jew was prime object. He also gave Paul new instruction re. his teaching; which is embodied in his last 7 letters; Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, and 1 & 2 Timothy.
Those Churches that teach that Christ Jesus and Paul's teaching are in conflict, either do not understand the Bible, or are teaching deliberate falsehood! As so many Church teachers and leaders are only in that position "as a job"; they are in danger of severe punishment from Almighty God for their falsehood!
They need to relearn the Scriptures in Truth, to see the True meaning of Israel's "Lo Ammi" position so as to teach God's Truth, instead of "man's wisdom" (which is falsehood as per the Roman Church). See: The Gross Neglect by Church Teachers of Coming Events:
The numerical symbolism is of interest. Seven lamps (Groups) with seven branches (7 x 7 = 49) i.e. 40 + 9; 40 = DIVINE ORDER, APPLIED TO EARTH. 9 = FINAL JUDGEMENT. These two are safe to deduce, (numbers in Scripture, by Dr. Bullinger).
However, as 10 = ORDINAL PERFECTION, (see App. 10 Comp.) and as the Millennial will be the first time the Earth has experienced PERFECT GOVERNMENT, one could deduce (49 x 10 = 490), which would correspond with the Daniel's "70th weeks of years", revealed by the angel to Daniel, which could be taken as an oblique and further confirmation that this period is the 70th week.
If you have questions or comments, please click here.
Or go to Chapters 1 to 22 or
SUBJECTS GROUPED or