40 blogs of Lent – Day 2
Seven Asian Churches
Messages to the churches – Day 1
The book of Revelation was written from Patmos to seven churches in Asia. From the map above you can see it would have landed at Ephesus and then gone on to, in order, Smyrna (now Ismir), Pergamum, Thyatira (now Akhisar), Sardis, Philadelphia and finally Laodicea. The messages to the churches in chapters 2 and 3 are written in that order.
Revelation was written in a style known as apocalyptic, and the book identifies itself as both an apocalypse and as prophesy. Apocalyptic literature is an unveiling, and can be found in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel, Daniel and some of the minor prophets. One of the features of this style is the use of numbers.
The number seven is significant. Chapter one has Christ, in the vision, walking among seven lamp stands, and the number seven comes again and again in the book. Seven seals are opened, seven bowls of wrath are poured out, a mythical beast has seven horns. The number stands for totality, God’s judgement is in full.
So we can apply this to the seven churches. The seven churches are not specific churches, though these did exist, but letters to all the churches. So these praises for getting things right, and warnings can apply to any church at any time. Read it carefully, this could be meant for you.
Conquerors, victors and overcomers
These messages have something in common. They are addressed to angels, from Jesus Christ. They also have a promise to the one who conquers (ESV), everyone who wins the victory (CEV), him that overcometh (KJV}. This is the promise to all the churches in the letter, and it is a source of hope to us too.
There are conquerors in all the churches.
There are victors in all the churches.
There are overcomers in all the churches.
This could be you.