22/03/2023 Wednesday

The Revelation
Study of John’s Revelation
Chapters 2-3
 These chapters are an insertion between two visions.
 Vision of Christ the head of local churches (Chapter 1)
 Vision of 24 elders representing the glorified church (Chapter 4)
 The insertion is instruction for seven local churches in Asia.
 It includes praise, rebuke and exhortation.
 We are not going to take the time to examine the instruction given to each church in this study.
Literal View of Revelation 2-3
 The seven churches are literal churches
 The seven churches were located in Asia (modern Turkey) as we have just seen.
 Many Christians believe that these churches represent seven ages of time since the first century until now. We
will consider this Parabolic View in a few minutes.
 True churches have existed since the time of Christ. During the Dark Ages, when the Catholic Church dominated
the world, true, biblical churches existed in secret. They were known by numerous names.
A Parabolic View by David Cloud
 1. The messages were given to instruct the particular churches to which they are addressed.
 2. The messages were given to instruct all churches. The instruction given to the seven churches of
Asia in the first century applies to every church of every century (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
Each church that has ever existed is similar to one of these seven.
 3. The messages were given to instruct individual believers (Rev. 2:7, etc.). Every believer can find
a wealth of edification and spiritual challenge and warning in these messages.
A Parabolic View by David Cloud
 4. The messages offer a general overview of church history. This is not the main lesson of these
chapters, and I believe that any approach that focuses exclusively or even largely on this aspect is
wrong. This is the mistake made by Harry Ironside in his commentary on Revelation. My approach is
entirely different. While I devote 5 pages of my commentary to the typical approach, I devote 84
pages to the practical application. https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/is_revelation_2_3_overview_of_church.html
Stages of History View
 Many good Bible teachers believe that the seven churches represent seven stages of history.
 Some think that the last four churches represent ages that continue until the Rapture.
 Though John does not call the churches stages of history, many of the speculations do make sense.
 They claim that many in the churches are not true believers, but that only the “overcomers”
mentioned at then end of each message to the churches are the true believers.
Literal View of Revelation 2-3
 I personally do not believe the seven churches represent ages of time. That view has several problems.
 John did not state that the churches were symbolic in the text.
 John addressed specific problems present in each local church.
 If not literal, the prophesy could not have been understood in John’s day.
 John would have known that hundreds of years must pass first.
 A parabolic view implies that the church of Thyatira represents the heretical Catholic Church as the true church for many centuries
while biblical New Testament churches met in secret.
 Whether the seven churches represent ages or not, the prophecy of the book is not changed either way.
Literal View of Revelation 2-3
 We can learn much from the seven churches
 Green = good characteristics, Orange = bad characteristics
 Ephesus (2:1-7) Good character (2,6) Left first love (4)
 Smyrna (2:8-11) Godly suffering (9) _________
 Pergamos (2:12-17) Faithful stand (13) Bad doctrine (14,15)
 Thyatira (2:18-29) Great works (19) Tolerated Jezebel (20)
 Sardis (3:1-6) Alive reputation (1) Dead reality (1)
 Philadelphia (3:7-13) Kept the Word (8,10) _________
 Laodicea (3:14-22) __________ Lukewarm (15-17)
Personal Application
 From these churches, we see that God wants us to
 keep our love for Him passionate
 live for eternal riches
 refuse to compromise
 guard against false teachings
 have a living relationship with Christ
 speak boldly for Christ
 stay on fire for the Lord
 Do these qualities describe your life? If not, they could. God is standing at the door of your heart
knocking. Will you open the door to him?