The Seven Churches of Revelation Two and Three -- By: M. J. Brunk

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 126:503 (Jul 1969)
Article: The Seven Churches of Revelation Two and Three
Author: M. J. Brunk

The Seven Churches of Revelation Two and Three

M. J. Brunk

[Menno J. Brunk, Pastor, Simoda Mennonite Church, Dayton, Virginia.]

John was commanded, “What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea” (1:11). Also, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (1:19). This last verse indicates three divisions of the subject matter. While our discussion will deal mainly with chapters two and three, it is interesting to note that in the last division—”the things which shall be hereafter”—the phrase is repeated in the first verse of chapter four, indicating that here “the things which shall be hereafter, begin in chapter four. The question at once arises, What do the candlesticks (lit., lampstands) represent? In answer to this question, observe:

1. They represent seven churches in actual existence. There were other churches in Asia, but these seven were chosen for a particular purpose, as will be observed later. But bear in mind that these seven churches were in actual existence at the time the Apocalypse was written.

2. They represent seven different types of churches which exist through the present dispensation. There always has been, and still is, the Ephesus type of churches—the church which could be commended for its labor and patience, but has lost its first love. The Smyrna church was a persecuted church, which has been the case through the years in various parts of the world. And so with the other churches which are found to exist through the present church age.

3. They represent seven types of individuals in the church.

In an average congregation can be found members who have lost their first love as was true with the church of Ephesus. And on through the succeeding churches there are individual members who display the characteristics of the various churches.

4. They are prophetic of seven periods of church history. It should be borne in mind that the change from one period to another was not an abrupt change, but was the result of a process which brought about the change. It should also be remembered that the change did not involve every member of the church, nor every congregation. There always have been individuals and minority groups who refused to go along with the main body of Christendom. But the various periods are characteristic of the church in general.

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