The number seven is the number of completion and fulfillment and within the book of Revelations we clearly read about seven churches, which are: The church of Ephesus, christian mysticism, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These seven churches are collectively referred to as the Asia Minor churches of John’s day. The author of the Book Of Revelations does not mention other churches within the same region, such as the church of Collosse, why, what is it about these seven churches that spans almost 2000 years from the death / resurrection of Christ till today. The author John clearly states the following within Revelation chapter 1 vs 10-11:
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, (11) saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega. the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
The above verses are a clear and concise directive from Jesus too John, as He identifies Himself as the “Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last”. The Lord directs John to these specific churches, all of which span a church age of approx 90 years, at the time of John’s writing. If we are to believe these churches are gentile and established after the death and resurrection of Christ then he is writing too these churches around 94 (AD) and according to strong and consistent historical church traditions, the Apostle John ministered in at least one of the churches, Ephesus.
I believe these seven churches are very relevant to us as individuals because each one depicts us as sinners, searching for a righteous walk with Christ. We should discern the spiritual truth about each church (which I discussed in an early posting) from the time of John’s writing to today.
The churches from Ephesus to Laodicia;
Ephesus “The backslidden spirit” Smyrna “The persecuted spirit” Pergamous “The licentous spirit” Thyatira “The lax spirit” Sardis “The spiritual dead” Philadelphia “The favored spirit” Laodicea “The lukewarm spirit”
The sins of the church today are represented by each Asia Minor church of John’s day, this maybe the reason Jesus focused His attention on these 7 churches, knowing that the “sinner” of the church from inception, growth and departure would be represented by these 7 churches of Asia Minor.
I believe the culmination of the Church age is also represented by these same churches, as Jesus’s owns words may hint towards my conclusion. The eleventh verse of chapter 1 begins with Jesus’s words, “I am the Alpha and the Omega. the First and the Last”, these words may not only represent Christ as the savior of the world, from birth to death to resurrection, it may encompass the Pentecostal Church of Acts chapter 2 from birth to death to rapture, let’s review the Acts chapter 2 Church age over the past 1900 years and what the Asia Minor churches may also represent.
Ephesus represents the “Apostolic Church Age” which covers the period of time prior to 110 A.D Smyrna represents the “Age or Church Persecution” which covers the period of time from 110 A.D to 320 A.D. Pergamos represents the “Church’s Imperialistic Age” which covers the period of time from 320 A.D to 600 A.D. Thyatria represents the “Church Papacy Age” which covers the period of time from 600 A.D. too 1520 A.D. Sardis represents the “Age of Church Reformation” which covers the period of time from 1520 A.D to 1720 A.D. Philadelphia represents the “Age of Church Missionaries” which covers the period of time from 1720 A.D to 1910 A.D. Laodicea now represents “Age of Greed, and Apostasy” which covers the period of time from 1910 to today. (disclaimer: Time periods are not definitive because overlapping is expected)
The church age today is one of greed, apostasy and being lukewarm, it’s hard to distinguish between the sins of the world (non-believer) and the sins of the church (believer). The worldly message within this Church Age (Laodicea) is described within Revelations 3:16 which reads; “Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” This Church Age is full of material wealth, and spiritual emptiness, proven by the Church’s silence against the sins of this Age, the same silence found within the Laodicea church of John’s time.