be worthy of comparison to the glories destined to follow them. May He who is ourLight also transcend in our hearts these events even before the fact in the midst of thedarkness to come!For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be comparedwith the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18 KJV
The Seven Churches: Revelation 2:1 - 3:22
In our preliminary discussion of the seven churches in the previous installment of thisseries it was explained that, in addition to being seven literal and historical local churchesexisting in John’s day, these seven are also representative of the seven eras of the ChurchAge that had only just begun at the time Revelation was written. These indicationsinclude:•
John’s apostolic authority (especially as the last apostle) extended to the entireChurch, not just these seven (1Cor.9:1-5; 12:28; Gal.2:7-9). This is not a messagedesigned by him to address specific issues in particular churches (as 1-3 John),but a message given by God to
seven “churches” (Rev.1:11: the definitearticle is significant here, because there were clearly more than seven localchurches at the time of writing).•
Our Lord Jesus Christ is and was concerned for His entire Church, not just forthese seven local churches. This revelation of His Person is clearly meant to befor His entire bride, the whole Church universal, and not merely for a very smallportion of it.•
The book of Revelation is the heritage of the entire Church. It is meant to blessall who read it (Rev.1:3), and meant to show all who consider it (Rev.22:7) whatwill happen in the end times.•
Revelation, after beginning with the messages to the seven churches in chapterstwo and three moves immediately to the history of the end times on the far side of the Church Age’s two millennial days. The book is indisputably focused on theconclusion of the Church Age, so that the preceding messages to the sevenchurches only make structural sense as an overview of the intervening twomillennia.•
The seven lampstands cannot well be understood as only these seven localchurches, for they are seen alone in the presence of Christ in chapter one(Rev.1:12-13), and again alone in the presence of the Father’s throne in chapterfour (Rev.4:5). The lampstands, light-giving bodies which represent the role of the Church universal in reflecting the truth of Christ in this dark world, and doingso as a totality in both instances, must therefore represent more than seven localchurches in the first century.