Christ and the Seven Churches


The book of Revelation opens with a strange, but powerful and meaningful vision of Jesus Christ. The appearance of Christ has highly symbolical features. His eyes were like a flame of fire, that is, He sees through all facades, men can put on to hide their inner and spiritual realities. His head and hair were white as wool, that indicates that He possesses great, divine wisdom. His feet were like brass, glowing, as if they came out of the furnace; his foundations are energetic, He stands in fearful power and awesome holiness. His voice is as the sound of many waters, that means His utterances are of divine, all overwhelming influence. His worst will sound and resound over the earth and penetrates deeply, giving a sense of eternity and unspeakable greatness.

The Lord walks amidst the candlesticks. The Jew recognized the scene immediately: He stands in the Holy Place, the first chamber of the tabernacle or the latter temple. In the Holy Place stood the table with the showbread, the altar of incense and the golden candlestick, with its seven lamps. Jesus appears here in priestly function, inspecting the condition of the individual lamps. Each lamp represents a church, so John is made to understand. After this scene the Spirit of the Lord gives a message for each church, in which He describes her condition. He also gives instructions, warnings and promises. The churches are graciously, but with authority asked to effectuate the corrections so that they can continue in their calling and fully reach the goal the Lord has for them.

The Church in Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7

This church lost its first love. How easy it is as life goes on and relations continue to loose that first excitement and devotion, which we call ‘first love.’ The union of love is most vulnerable and therefore it needs continually to be carefully guarded and nourished. This church should consider what has happened to her and repent of her present indifferent state. If she does not come back to her first love for Jesus, He will remove her candlestick.

Is your love for Jesus, and is your church in that state of devotion and excitement, which belongs to that ‘first love’? If not, what should you do about it?

For the Dutch speaking community: een inleiding over deze brief voor een gemeentekring: De brief aan de gemeente in Efeze

The Church in Smyrna, Revelation 2:8-11

The message to this church is to remain faithful and not to fear. This encouragement is necessary for the church has gone through tribulation and has suffered. False believers have blasphemed the Lord, despised the church and this situation will continue for some time; some believers will even be thrown in prison. The Lord promises to reward the church with the crown of life.

Are you under attack because you believe in Jesus? Remain steadfast and strong. Do not fear suffering. The Lord will reward you, keep your eyes on Him!

The Church in Pergamos, Revelation 2:12-17

This church is allowing false doctrines to defile her. The Lord knows that she is placed in a situation, where satan’s powers are working. She has kept the faith, nevertheless dangerous doctrines are creeping in, one of them is compared with the subtle strategy of Balaam. The church must be very watchful, she cannot relax and should repent of allowing false doctrines to be taught in her midst. The Lord gives to those of this church who overcome, a wonderful promise.

It is important to always listen carefully to the Spirit of the Lord, who teaches the pure word of God and not to allow error and false teaching to do her evil work and damage the faith.

Please, be not only on your guard against the subtle temptations from outside, the satanic powers in the world, but also against the evil forces, that are already in operation in the midst of believers.

The Church in Thyatira, Revelation 2:18-29

This church is allowing false prophecy in her midst. The consequence of false prophecy is always confusion amongst believers. The church should repent of her sin and put the prophetess out of position and ministry. The Lord has eyes like a flame of fire and sees everything that is going on, the good and the bad  things. His eyes discern the true nature of the spirits at work. The Lord will chastise the false prophetess, so that she may be brought to repentance. The Lord will strengthen those who have withstood the false teachings.

Be aware of false prophetic ministries, that cause confusion and frustration and lead away from the pure devotion and holy worship to the true God.

The Church in Sardis; Revelation 3:1-6

This church has a name to be alive, but according to the Lord, she is dead. This church should take time to consider her present pitiful state and remember her first state. She should repent for she is dying spiritually. The positive thing is that there are still a few that have not defiled themselves. The Lord warns that his judgment might come unexpected, but there is still time to join the ranks of the overcomes.

We have beautiful names for our churches and denominations. But should we not regularly have honest examinations with the Bible open? For, what is in a name, if the present reality does not live up to it?

The Church in Philadelphia; Revelation 3:7-13

Here is a faithful church, not strong according to human standards perhaps, but she kept the word of the Lord and honoured His name. The Lord is giving her opportunities for spreading His Gospel and proclaiming His victory - an ‘open door, which no man can shut.’ Her enemies will come and admit that they have troubled her unjustly. The Lord promised to come quickly and reward this church as she remains faithful.

You may regard yourself as small and insignificant, compared to others. Even your church may think of herself as insignificant - but it is possible that the Lord thinks different about her. Keep true to God's word, be faithful and use every opportunity He gives! There is an ‘open door,’ don't miss it!

The Church in Laodicea; Revelation 3:14-22

A church that is neither cold nor hot; just lukewarm. The Lord abhors her pitiful condition - He despises lukewarmness! Her own estimation is that she is rich but the Lord says she is poor and wretched.

The Lord rebukes this church and tells her to be revived. He provides the means for revival: Buy gold, tried in the fire: That is: Get the pure word of God and obey it. White raiment, that is a new consciousness of being cleansed from all sin, it is the only way to become righteous in the sight of God. Get eye salve to anoint the eyes, so that the church will see clearly again and discern not only her present pitiful state but also the possibilities for victory in the name of the Lord. In His great love and with divine patience the Lord still holds victory before her and there is still the opportunity for intimate and real fellowship with Him: “Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he will me.”

As you ponder over this church and the message of the Lord, you may recognize a a lukewarm condition, as described of this church. What to do about it? Do not become disheartened, but repent, for the Lord is merciful and gives an opportunity for change. He still opens the door to communion with Him and you can join the ranks of the over comers!

The Netherlands, 28 November 2000, revised 26 October 2009
T. J. de Ruiter, Pentecostal pastor and teacher in The Netherlands

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Site 'Inspiration & Insight', since 1997 / Published in 2000, last update 18 August 2011 / Pastor T. J. de Ruiter / The Netherlands