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Notes on Revelation

Seven Churches

One reason these seven particular churches are mentioned corresponds with the fact that when Jesus returns He will come in judgment. The Roman Empire sent out governors each year to outlying provinces who would "make the circuit," stopping in certain towns to hear cases and grievances. The governor who oversaw Asia Minor would land in Ephesus, continue to Smyrna, then Pergamum, etc. through all seven churches mentioned.

(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


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