Then in each section, take brief notes in pen or pencil as you read on the message to each of the churches. This is the best way to get an understanding of the power of this passage and its message to the church today. The structure of this section is pretty clear. Though messages to some churches may omit one of these, most contain:.
Incidentally, occasionally you run across an interpretation that compares each of the churches to different ages in the life of the church, the last one -- the Laodicean church -- being the present age. There is absolutely no basis in scripture for this teaching, though it was found in the footnotes of popular study Bibles for years. The danger of this unsubstantiated teaching is that you will gloss over important lessons derived from the other churches. All these lessons are important if the Church today is to become the Church that Jesus can be proud of.
Chartered as a free city by Rome. Contained temples to three Roman emperors.
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The Temple of Artemis Diana was four times the size of the Parthenon of Athens and considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. How can a local congregation lose its "first love" for Jesus? What are the signs of genuine love for Jesus in worship and ministry? How does the lack of love show up? How can a congregation regain this love?
The Greek verb nikao , means "to win in the face of obstacles, be victor, conquer, overcome, prevail" BDAG We resist and stand successfully against Satan's temptations by our faith. This word is used a number of times in Revelation. How is a Christian able to overcome according to the following verses?
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But your time answering will build your understanding. Questions for the Forum are indicated by numbers preceded by the letter Q. Paradise symbolizes the final state in which God and man are restored to that perfect fellowship which existed in the Garden of Eden before the entrance of sin into the world. Eating the fruit is symbolic of eternal life Genesis 3: This beautiful, proud city was larger than Ephesus, with a population of about , Its strong allegiance to Rome resulted in great persecution for Christians.
In fact they served their father the devil John 8: Both see themselves as small and weak -- "poverty" 2: Though the believer may be martyred, his prize is eternal life, not the second death Revelation It was a center of worship of the pagan gods Zeus, Athene, Dionysis, and Asklepios. In 29 BC, the first temple dedicated to a living emperor was built there. Balaam's sin involved encouraging the Midianite women to seduce the Israelites into idolatry.
Balaam is the prototype of corrupt teachers who betray their listeners into fatal compromise with worldly ideologies Mounce. Why would loosening of sexual standards to conform to the prevailing morals of the culture be destructive of vital Christian faith and witness? How has your culture tended to take the edge off your own Christian moral convictions or forced you to be quiet about them? The overcomers will partake of the manna hidden in the heavenly temple Thyatira's numerous trade guilds were inseparably entwined with pagan religious observances posing a special problem for both the spiritual and economic well-being of Christians Mounce.
Her teachings tempted Christians to accommodate to heathen practices in the trade guilds. Refusal to conform to the guild practices could mean social isolation and economic hardship. Contrast Jezebel and her followers to "the elect lady and her children" 2 John 1. Why do you think the religious compromise required by participating in heathen religious practices in the trade guilds was so spiritually destructive? What compromises do twenty-first century Christians struggle with?
Let's not settle for trite legalisms about drinking and smoking. What are the real compromises that dilute vital Christianity? Yet it was still rich and famous, lying at the western end of a great caravan route from Susa in Mesopotamia. The Sardis church receives the most severe denunciation of the seven; it was "a perfect model of inoffensive Christianity" Caird. The majority had so fully compromised with the pagan environment that the church was Christian in name only that is, "nominally" Christian.
But as the fulfillment. Here is also the answer to that most serious of all objections to. Loizeaux , So the charge that the prophetic view destroys the doc-. A significant argument for the prophetic view may be seen in the. And most would see that significance as representing completeness,. Nor can importance be the deciding. One might add the typical interpretation to the picture and say. Certainly these seven are not the. The NT itself furnishes many examples. When one tries to label every church with which. These seven cannot represent a total list of church types.
However, when the prophetic view of the seven churches is. The seven do not. What is it that prompts expositors to see implicit prophecy in. It is the remarkable correspondence in fact with the. It is not within the purpose of this paper to. The second clearly discernible period was one of persecution and. And the lukewarmness and materialistic self-sufficiency of the church. It should be remem -. But it is at this point that opponents of this view voice one of. They claim that there is no such correspon -. First, to label the prophetic view as another continuous-historical.
The continuous-historical method of interpreting the book. Revelation in specific events of history, such as the conversion of the. The prophetic view propounded here does absolutely none of this. These are not immediately and. Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, n. Epistles to the Seven Churches , Tenney , Interpreting Revelation Grand Rapids: See also Tenny's entire discussion of this view The claim that the prophetic view is subjective and differs widely. When the many continuous-historical writers are included, it is of. Such subjectivity is a.
But those who actually. Second, it is claimed that the view of church history used by the. The answer to this objection is very simple, but very important. Such a claim involves a faulty understanding of the nature of the. The seven periods of church history are. They represent the place where men may. They are true churches.
The Seven Churches in Asia (Revelation 2-3)
Therefore, those churches represented in Revelation Western Christianity has been the major center for world. The implications of this insight are crucial. It cancels the objection. Revelation provides a picture of trends and movements. All through the years. This insight also forces a reevaluation of the whole approach to. For example, the Laodicean church is not.
It is the Bible-believing evangelical church. It is materially rich and increased with.
Rather it is somewhere in between. It is trying to enjoy the good things and to avoid the unpleasant. Is this the case with us and with the people in our churches? Then ours is a Laodicean church. And to the degree that Laodicea.
This material is cited with gracious permission from: Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: This interpretation does not compromise the doctrine of imminence since the prophecy is implicit and thus not discernible until its fulfillment has been accomplished. The three interpretations may be called the historical interpretation, the typical or representative interpretation, and the prophetic interpre - tation. The historical interpretation understands the seven churches to be seven actual historical churches in provincial Asia in the first century.
Some of them are mentioned elsewhere in Scripture Ephesus and Laodicea while others are known from church history. There seems to be almost total agreement on this interpretation; the only view known to the present writer that would deny it holds that the seven churches are seven Jewish congregations in the future Tribula - tion period. That is, these churches exhibit characteristics which may be found in any church of any time or place. Third is the prophetic interpretation which additionally sees a prophetic or predictive element in these seven letters.
Each church in Revelation exhibits qualities and conditions which become pre- dominant in a certain period of church history from the first advent of Christ to his second advent. The question addressed here is whether the prophetic interpretation is part of the meaning of Revelation This has been denied by some dispensationalists. I believe that some well-meaning but over-zealous expounders of the prophetic view have claimed too much or have sought to pile up evidence by using I weak arguments. This has actually hurt the credibility of the prophetic interpretation more than it has helped because it gives opponents something to refute, thus making the whole position look weak.
One such argument is that the book of Revelation is a prophetic book ; hence it would be appropriate to find a prophetic aspect here. It might be claimed that since the prophecies of the tribulation period come after chaps. BMH, 17 ,25 , and John F. Christian Beacon, , who presents a more impressive argument. Of course, a prophetic view is held by non-dispensationalists as well e.
Klock and Klock , George Ladd's equation of dispensational ism with the prophetic view is thus an overgeneralization. But again this proves nothing; "after this" would be just as true even if there were a gap, and the occurrence of a gap is certainly not unusual in prophetic literature. I personally do not put great significance in the argument based upon the etymologies of the names of the seven churches 6 for two reasons. First, the proposed etymologies are very uncertain and hypo- thetical.
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Second, the argument is based on a very questionable method of exegesis. While it is true that names may have meanings as Miller and Smith and Fisher have in English and sometimes were given with deliberate reference to that meaning as Benjamin and Joshua- Jesus in Scripture , this was not normally the case. The ministry of Paul is not explained by studying the etymology of his name. Nowhere in Revelation does it say that these letters are dealing with seven long periods of time which must tran - spire before the second advent.
Indeed if it had said that, it would have effectively denied the plain teaching of Scripture elsewhere that the Lord's coming is imminent, to be constantly expected and watched for. But the fact that it is not explicitly prophetic does not at all mean that it is not prophetic. Bible prophecy elsewhere is often implicit rather than explicit. It is the character of Bible prophecy to unfold as it is fulfilled.
The Seven Churches in Asia (Revelation 2–3)
The OT did not say explicitly that there would be two comings separated by a long period of time. That time element was the specific aspect which the prophets themselves could not understand 1 Pet 1: Nor did OT prophecy make it clear that the offer of the Kingdom would be rejected and postponed to that later coming. But as the fulfillment unfolded , the two comings which were implicit in the OT prophecy could be understood Luke
Related The Seven Churches of Asia/ Revelation 2-3
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