The messages to the early church in the Book of Revelation have implications and lessons for us today.
[Darris McNeely] Students of the Book of Revelation look at it and read it for understanding prophecy, for being able to understand many events that are even taking place in our world today. At the very beginning of the Book of Revelation, there are seven messages to seven churches. Well-known part of the Book of Revelation, and I've been doing some dailies on these of late because I just recently made a trip to Turkey to visit the location of these seven cities, ancient cities, and the congregations of the church that were there at that time and making a study of this. Here's what it says in Revelation 1 regarding these churches, and it helps us to understand something regarding the nature of the very Book of Revelation itself, I think. John says beginning in verse 9, "I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." John was exiled during the reign of the Emperor Domitian on the island of Patmos when he received this Revelation.
He goes on, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, 'Write what you see in a book, send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamon, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and finally, to Laodicea.'" Seven congregations in seven cities were the recipients of what John heard through this loud voice the Revelation that Christ brought to him while he was on the island of Patmos. Write the things that you see in a book. What's the book? It's the Book of Revelation. Now, Chapters 2 and 3 talk then about these seven distinct messages. One message for each of these seven congregations with the characteristics that they had, spiritual condition that they were in at that particular time. And yet, really at the beginning here, all it says that, "Write what you see in a book and send to the churches." In other words, the message of the entire Book of Revelation was to go to all of these churches, and by extension, they are to go to the church, the church for all time, and the church today. And they have a modern application for the church of God today. And that's very important here to understand as we look at the message here of the Book of Revelation and seek to understand the depth of what is here.
It was not by coincidence that Jesus gave this message to John sometime in the mid-'90s AD, less than 100 years after the beginning of the church, the death of Jesus Christ, and that original generation through whom Christ began His ministry and started the church. Here now, 40 years after the founding of these seven congregations comes a message. Events were taking place at that time that teach us something about the entire book, but also today. There was a cult of emperor worship. There was heresy impacting the church, and people in the churches here were losing their zeal, losing their first love. Their faith was being impacted after years and years of living that faith, having it attacked, and all the implications that were going on. That moment was when Jesus chose to give the Revelation. And in that moment, there is a message and a meaning for us to understand today, as we look not just at the message of the entire Book of Revelation, but specifically to what Jesus said to His church through seven congregations then, and what He says to His church now, today as we look for all of these things to shortly come to pass in the Book of Revelation. Something to think about as we take an overview to look and to understand the message of Revelation, and specifically the message to the seven churches.
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