Upon reading Christ’s assessment of Revelation’s seven churches, it is obvious that Christ’s analysis of these ancient churches is not a good assessment of them or of their leaders.
The analysis that follows is Christ’s assessment of each church.
It is provided to assist the reader to help determine where their own church might appear, using Christ’s “plumbline” as guidance (Amos 7:7-9).
Overview of Revelation’s Seven Churches
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 refer to “the things which are” or issues that should concern the church on Earth until the Rapture occurs. (1 Cor. 15:23, 51-58; 1 Thes 4:13-17; 2 Thes 2:7).
In this, Christ’s letters to the churches have a twofold application:
- A local application to these churches, which reveals the actual spiritual and moral conditions occurring in seven local churches in Asia Minor. These were located along the western coast of modern Turkey.
- A prophetic application to today’s churches leading up to the Rapture. In this, Christ’s words reveal the (poor) spiritual conditions in these churches that may help individuals in today’s churches assess their spiritual health.
The Similarity in the Letters to the Churches
The order Christ addressed the churches are as follows:
- Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
- Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)
- Pergamos (Rev 2:12-17)
- Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29)
- Sardis (Rev 3:1-6)
- Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13)
- Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22)
- In nearly all of the letters there is a reference to one or more of the
description of Christ in Rev. 1:12-16.
- Each letter is addressed to the church’s pastor.
- Except for the last church, each is commended for its “works”.
- Jesus Christ rebukes each church except the second (Smyrna) and the sixth (Philadelphia).
The Approval and the
Condemnation from Christ
Rev. 2:2-6. I know
|Nevertheless I have
somewhat against thee,
because thou hast
left thy first love
– meaning evangelism.
3. Poverty, but rich in the
|No words of condemnation|
2. Holding fast to Christ’s
3. Not denying the faith.
|1. Holding the doctrine of
2. Eating things sacrificed
3. Committing fornication
4. Holding the doctrine of
|Thyatira||1. Works (James 2:26)
2. Charity (Godly love)
3. Service to God
4. Faith (as a gift –
1 Cor 12:9)
5. Patience (Rom 5:3-5)
6. Increased works
|1. Jezebel permitted to
2. Allowing her to seduce
My servants (Christians)
to commit fornication
3. Permitting Jezebel to
seduce Christians to eat
things sacrificed to idols
4. Tolerating Jezebel in spite of her impenitence.
|Sardis||1. Works (Rev. 3:1)
2. Having a name or reputation of being a live church,
but “art dead” (Rev. 3:1)
3. Works not perfect
before God (Rev. 3:2)
4. Few godly members
|No condemnation, but
Christ’s promises to
The Overcomer are:
1. Walk with Me in white
2. Be clothed in white
raiment (Rev. 3:5)
3. I will not blot his name out of the book of life (Rev. 3:5)
4. I will confess his name
before My Father and the
angels (Rev. 3:5)
2. A little strength
3. Kept My Word
4. Not denied My name
|Laodicea||Nothing from Jesus
- Each of Revelation’s Seven Churches was commanded to repent except the second, fourth, and sixth. This means to stop sinning totally! In this, the fourth church was required to repent of its sin, but it was a free-will choice and not a commandment.
- Warnings of judgment are given to all the seven churches except the second and sixth.
- Each church was more corrupt than the preceding church except for the first, second, and sixth churches.
- Christ approved the first church for ten things, whereas He condemned the last church for ten things.
- Promises to ‘The Overcomers’ who Christ knew in each church.
- Each has the same admonition to hear.
- John is told to write each case of judgment. Once one letter is completed, he continues writing letters to all remaining churches.
- He is told to write about “the things which shall be hereafter” or the events that follow the Rapture (Rev. 1:19; Rev. 4:1).
Eighteen Blessings to ‘The Overcomer’
Christ promises to give to every Christian who becomes an ‘Overcomer’ of Satan and his lies and deceptions the following benefits (or blessings):
- The tree of life (Rev. 2:7)
- The crown of life (Rev. 2:10; Rev. 3:11)
- Escape the second death or lake of fire (Rev. 2:11; Rev. 20:14)
- The hidden manna (Rev. 2:17)
- A white stone and a new name (Rev. 2:17)
- Their part in the Rapture (Rev. 2:25; Rev. 3:11; 1 Thes. 4:16; Phil. 3:21; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:23,51-58)
- Power (or authority as kings) over the nations (Rev. 2:26-27)
- Complete defeat of rebels (Rev. 2:27)
- The Morning Star (Rev. 2:28)
- Walk with Christ in white raiment (Rev. 3:4-5)
- Name eternally written in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5; Rev. 22:18-19)
- Jesus Christ will mention the Christian’s name before God (Rev 3:5).
- A pillar in God’s temple (Rev. 3:12)
- Eternal abiding with God (Rev. 3:12)
- God’s name written upon him (Rev. 3:12)
- Name of the New Jerusalem written upon him (Rev. 3:12)
- New name of Christ written upon him (Rev. 3:12)
- An eternal throne and kingdom in Christ’s kingdom (Rev. 3:21; Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10; Rev. 11:15; Rev. 22:4-5)
It seems from comparing today’s churches with Christ’s assessment of Revelation’s seven churches that Christianity has become more self-focused rather than Christ-focused. If one examines the list of promises (or blessings) above, it seems that most modern churches have become more like the Church at Laodicea rather then those at Smyrna and Philadelphia.
Things to ponder
- Have you read what the True Church of Jesus Christ should be like? If not, click here.
- What do you think of this article?
- Do you have any comments?
- Feel free to ask a question.
- Have you seen any street evangelism like this before?