7 golden lampstands, 7 stars, 7 angels.
John is commanded to "write a letter to the 7 churches in Asia" "and to the Angels of the 7 churches" but we are confronted with a few questions when we read this:
1.Who are the 7 churches?
2.Who are the Angels of the 7 churches? 3.And, why only 7 churches?
1.who are the seven churches?
The seven churches were 7 actual churches in John's day, and are mentioned by name. But, is that all? Are the 7 churches still alive? Is this message fulfilled, or is it still speaking to today's churches? If so, who are the 7 churches?
I do not believe the message of Revelation has been completed (see Matthew 24), and therefore, the Angels of the 7 churches must still be here as well, and the 7 churches are part of the larger body of Christ. We are the body, and this message is for us.
Some interpreters of Revelation believe that the 7 churches may also represent "ages" of the church. The first church represents the first century Christians(33-70AD) as the the second church (70-300AD) the third church (300-600AD)etc...
I put forth that it is possible that the 7 churches can be both the past church of John's day, and the present and future church of our day and still maintain the integrity of the verses.
The character of the seven churches are:
Ephesus- the church that had forsaken its first love.
Smyrna- the church that would suffer persecution.
Pergamum- the church that needed to repent.
Thyatira- the church that had a false prophetess.
Sardis- the church that had fallen asleep.
Philadelphia - the church that had endured patiently.
Laodicea - the church with the lukewarm faith.
2. Who are the seven angels of the church?
"In Revelation 8:2 John reports seeing “the seven angels who stand before God....” In Revelation 4:5 John says that “seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Some have said that the seven Spirits of God are actually the sevenfold Spirit of God; that is, seven attributes or expressions of God’s one Spirit. But there is no basis for this interpretation from the context, the meaning of the Greek words, or the implications of the words. An accepted approach to interpreting the Bible is to set Scripture beside Scripture. When we do this, we immediately see that there are both seven spirits and seven angels before God and His throne."
3. Why only 7 churches?
"7" is a symbol if divine perfection. It is apparent that "7" is the most important number in the Bible to anyone who has ever read it. It comes to stand for "God" and order, and in the end we must also understand it to be completeness, or in this case the entire church of God.
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