(Pagans and Christians, Robin Fox--Roman Civilization, Sourcebook II: The Empire)
Why these seven churches? Maybe because they all had something to do with the Seleucid Dynasty and if Antiochus Epiphanes was "the" antitype of the antichrist, then anything connected with him or his family would be germane. The Seleucid kingdom could technically be considered "the king of the north."
"The churches named were churches which actually existed in John's day. In dealing with them, He seems to give us a brief church history from the first century Church to the Church of today, in seven periods:
Ephesus--the Church of the first-love, the apostolic Church
Smyrna--the persecuted Church--Diocletian to Constantine
Pergamos--the Church under imperial favor--under Constantine
Thyatira--the papal Church--the Dark Ages
Sardis--the Reformation Church--protestantism, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Philadelphia--the missionary Church--period ushered in by the Puritan movement
Laodicea--the rejected Church--Church of the final apostasy"
(What the Bible is All About, Henrietta C. Mears)
The parables of Matthew 13 correspond to the seven churches.
(The Revelation Verse by Verse Study, Dr. Oliver B. Greene)
Please see the book The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia by W. M. Ramsay
1997-2007 Notes on Revelation
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