PP9: Seven Churches of Revelation
[by Walter R. Dolen, © 1971, 1977, 1996 by Walter R. Dolen]
¶ PP537 As all the Bible is dual so too are chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. The book of Revelation is "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass." (Rev 1:1) These things mentioned in the book have not come true in the truest sense. Christ has not returned, Satan has not been locked up, etc. It further says happy is "he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy." (v. 3) This doesn't mean merely hearing it physically, but hearing it Spiritually, for there are people who only hear physically. (Mark 4:11-12) Yet there are some who have a Spiritual ear to hear. (Rev 2:7; Matt 13:16) Furthermore Revelation 1:3 speaks of those who hear, and at the time that they hear: "the time is at hand." And in Ezekiel 12:22-23 it speaks of the days or time being at hand, "and the effect of every vision." When Revelation was written the true day of the Lord was not at hand. Therefore at the time it was written they didn't understand the book of Revelation in its truest sense. It is only when the days are at hand that the whole book of Revelation shall be opened up fully.
¶ PP538 Typically John was told to "write 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." (Rev 1:11) Notice this one book that was to go to these seven churches in Asia in the order written. Hence this one book was carried first to Ephesus, then to Smyrna, and so forth until it came to the Laodicean church. But moreover notice that in each message to each church it says the book spoke to the churches. (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) The book didn't just speak to one church, but to all the churches. Therefore not only does this book speak to each church, but speaks to all the churches that are in Christ.
¶ PP539 The things written about in this book John wrote were the things that were in his time, "and the things which shall be hereafter." (Rev 1:19) Concerning the seven churches, this indicates the churches as they were at John's time, and the things that were to come concerning the Church. The book spoke of the state of the churches of Christ at that time and what was to come.
¶ PP540 Antitypically, we are in the time when the book is opened fully, and the effect of every vision is to come true soon. Therefore antitypically the book of Revelation now is speaking of the present state of the churches, and "the things which shall be hereafter." The book will be perfectly fulfilled shortly. All the things mentioned about the seven churches concern the present Church of God at the time the book was opened up, and shortly thereafter.
Chapters Two and Three Speak of the Condition of Today's Church
[written on April 4th, 1971]
¶ PP541 At this writing there are false apostles in with those of the true Church, or those who say they have a commission by God to perform ("two witnesses"). But someone in the Church "found them liars." (Rev 2:2)
This someone has fallen from his love of the first, and is asked to turn, yet at the same time he does hate the false doctrines of the Church. This one will endure, and he labors through the Name of Christ, for he has the Spirit of Christ inside him. (Rev 2:4, 5, 6, 3)
This one in the Church is relatively poor physically, but rich Spiritually. (Rev 2:9)
The Church will go through a trial; some will be put in prison. (Rev 2:10)
The Church is dwelling or will dwell where Satan's throne is, or power is. The modern day Antipas will be killed where Satan dwells. (Rev 2:13)
The present Church holds false doctrines. (Rev 2:14-15)
But they will be reproved soon after they have been given a period to change their minds. (Rev 2:16, 21, 3:3)
Those who continue in the false doctrines will die the death, the agelasting death. (Rev 2:23, 18-23)
Some in the Church do not hold in their minds these false doctrines. (Rev 2:24)
At this time the present Church has a name that lives ("Church of God"), but is dead Spiritually. They have "dead" leaders, biased behavior, etc. (Rev 3:1)
Those of the Church are asked to "strengthen the things which remain, that were about to die: for I have not found your works complete before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast." The Church will be reproved, it is asked to remember how they received this truth, to hold it, and to strengthen it. (Rev 3:2, 3)
Again it says some in the present Church are Spiritually in Christ. (Rev 3:4)
Now here it shows the door being opened to the one who shall reprove the Church. This one has not denied Christ's Name. (Rev 3:7-8)
The Church will have a little while strength. Thus they will receive a little while power. (Rev 3:8)
The scripture about the Laodicean Church pictures those now in the Church, physically, who are comparatively rich physically but not Spiritually. Those with false assurance in goods will be reproved, for as many as God loves, he rebukes. (Rev 3:14-19)
The door to the Church is now being knocked on. (Rev 3:20)
Those who overcome will be saved. (Rev 3:21) [back]
"Tolerance of evil breeds more evil"
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