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  Question:

  How do the "Seven Churches of Asia" in Revelation Chapters 2 & 3 apply to us today?

  Answer:

  First of all, let me state that I believe the Book of Revelation is divided into three distinct sections. In Chapter 1 verse 19, Jesus told John to:

   1. Write the things which thou HAST SEEN, (What you just SAW - the past) Chapter 1.

  2. Write the things which ARE (existed at the time of Johns writing - the present), Chapters 2 & 3, concerning the 7 Churches of Asia.

  3. Write the things which SHALL BE hereafter, (the future) Chapters 4 through 22.

  This means to me that the 7 letters were delivered to the 7 literal congregations, and the individual specific messages were primarily intended for the literal 7 churches in Asia at that time.

  Now, having the benefit of 2000 years of Church history, we can see two additional applications:

  1. We can see that the prophetic statements in these letters literally and historically happened to each of the 7 original churches - the prophecies of God's Word concerning the 7 local Churches were fulfilled.

  2. History of the Church, in general, also shows us that the Church Age has turned out to be 7 well defined "periods" that match - in sequence - the characteristics of each of the 7 messages.

  This brings the question to mind: "Which of the 7 Church periods are we in now?"

  From my study, I believe six of the 7 periods are clearly in the past, and to answer your question directly, I believe we are presently in the 7th and last period, the period typified by the Church at Laodicea:

  Laodicea comes from 2 Greek words, "laos", meaning "of the people", and "dike", (pronounced "dee-kay") meaning "rights". Together they mean "rights of the people", or "human rights".

  Interestingly, most of what we see going on in the world today, from our Social Security programs, to our foreign policy, is being done in the name of "human rights". I almost fell out of my chair the first time I heard President Jimmy Carter say "human rights" on TV!!!

  Our modern church seems to be more concerned with "making the world a better place" and "making a difference" than teaching and living God's truth!

  There is no doubt in my mind that we are presently on the Revelation time line at chapter 3:14-22, the Laodicean Church, meaning in the Greek, the Church of "human rights", which is described as:

    a. Making Jesus sick at His stomach. Not "cold or hot", is a disgusting "lukewarm" - playing church - the idiom "spew thee out of my mouth" simply means making Him sick at his stomach. These 7 messages are written to the "church", the "ekklesia" in the Greek, the "called out ones", there are no Christians in His mouth, they are all sealed into union with Him by the Holy Spirit. Using human terms, their actions down here on earth are just simply "making Him sick at His stomach".

    b. Constantly saying that they are rich and in need of nothing. If the Rapture happened today, and the Holy Spirit was removed, most of the "church" I see today could keep right on going, using worldly principals and watered down teachings, they wouldn't miss a beat.

    c. But really spiritually poor. We are commanded to constantly be "filled with (controlled by) the Spirit". Does your pastor teach how to "walk in, or be constantly controlled by, the Spirit of God"? Shouldn't that be the number one teaching for God's people?????

    d. Miserable. Too many Churches today are full of people "trying to get their needs met", and going through the motions - so God will "bless them", but are "miserable" inside.

    e. Blind, Without a rich diet of God's Word, and knowing how to constantly walk in the Spirit, we operate on human viewpoint - spiritual "blindness".

    f. Naked, not clothed by God's righteousness, but clothed with our own "righteousness". We are not "righteous" because of anything we "do" or "don't do", we are righteous when we have no unconfessed sin in our life and are "walking in the Spirit", and being "controlled by God".

    g. And shameful. What a shame. It is the rich teaching of God's Word, that empowers us to live a life controlled by Him that keeps us from being "shameful".

  In Rev. 3:20, Jesus is pictured "outside" the "local church", and calling to "individuals" within the "local church" to individual fellowship with Him. He is not "at the door of men's hearts" like it is generally preached today, trying to get people "saved", but He is at the "door" of the "called out ones", calling to born again children of God - an individual call - to FELLOWSHIP with Him. (1 John Chapter one).

  The next event for the Church is the Rapture of the Church, described in 1 Cor. 15:51&52 and 1 Thess 4:13 through chapter 5 verse 11, and, I believe pictured by the sound of a trumpet and the "open door" of Rev. 4:1, and it could happen any moment.

  Last, but not least, by any means, I believe, the 7 churches picture 7 "types" of churches that exist throughout the Church Age, i.e. a local church could take on the characteristics of any one of these 7 churches, at any point in time, and the message to that church would then apply directly to them.

  In general, we should then endeavor to take on the characteristics that Jesus praised in all 7 of these messages and avoid the characteristics that Jesus spoke against.

  Thank you for this most pertinent and timely question, and let us continually pray that God's people would heed the words of Jesus in these 7 messages.

  Bob Jones