I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6 : 35

Truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

Numbers 14 : 21

They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid

Micah 4 : 4

For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 1 : 11

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm 46 : 10



The Letter to the Metropolitan Church of Ephesus. To the Angel of the Martyr Church of Smyrna. To the Angel of the Church at Pergamos, Persecuted by the Heathen. To the Angel of the Church at Thyatira, Defiled by Idolatry.

The second and third chapters differ from all the rest of Revelation in that they are letters dictated by the Lord to the Seven Churches which have been chosen to represent the entire church of God.

The description of their varied conditions and the commendations, rebukes, promises and warnings given them, are a fitting introduction to a book which is designed to reveal the various phases of the church in history, its fortunes, its lapses, its tribulations, persecutions and final triumph.

While these Seven Epistles differ in details they will be found to have the same general plan and to have the following features in common:

1. An order to write to the angel of the church.

2. A glorious title of Christ taken from the imagery or language of the visions of the first chapter.

3. A description of the condition of the church, whether good or bad, admonitions and exhortations.

4. A promise to those who persevere and triumph.

5. A closing injunction to "hear what the Spirit saith to the churches." Four epistles are contained in the second chapter, and three in the third chapter. A close examination will show that there is a distinction. In the last four epistles the closing promise is placed after the injunction to "hear what the Spirit," etc.; in the first three epistles the promise is before the injunction. The distinction makes two groups of epistles, one of three and the other of four, just as the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls are divided into two groups each, of three and four.


The city of Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and the greatest city.

As a great center it was sought by the Apostle Paul, who founded the church and labored there more than three years (Ac 18:19; 19:1), and afterwards addressed to it the Epistle to the Ephesians.

At a later period he placed Timothy there and addressed two epistles to him. All early church tradition declares that John from about A.D. 70 made this city his home until his death.

There is not now standing a single house upon the site of the ancient city, though the ruins are of the most imposing character. The Turkish village of Agasalouk, upon the Smyrna and Aidan R. R., is about two miles distant.


The history of its planting is unknown, but it was probably founded by some of the evangelists under Paul's supervision. During the second century the church was prominent, and it has never ceased to exist.

When I visited the city in 1889, I was told that there were more than seventy thousand professing Christians in the place. The city, so old that its beginnings are unknown, is still the second in commercial importance of the Turkish empire.


Pergamos. The farthest north of the Seven Churches, a city once the capital of the kingdom of Pergamos, which was great and flourishing when John wrote. It still exists with about fourteen thousand population, of whom over three thousand profess to be Christians.


In Thyatira. This is the first of the second group of four epistles. Thyatira has been mentioned in Ac 16:14 as the home of Lydia, who was converted at Philippi. It is likely that the church began when she and her household returned. The three churches before named were on or near the coast;

the others were in the interior. Thyatira was southeast of Pergamos, and northeast of Smyrna. It is still a place of about seventeen thousand population, of whom nearly three thousand profess to be Christians Letter to the Church at Sardis, the Spiritually Dead Church. Letter to the Tried and Faithful Church of Philadelphia. Letter to the Lukewarm Church of Laodicea.


The church in Sardis. The city of Sardis, once the capital of the great kingdom of Lydia and the home of Croesus, the rich king, lay in the interior nearly a hundred miles east of Smyrna and Ephesus. Though it had lost its former greatness it was still a considerable city in the first century.

The church there was planted, no doubt, by some of the companions of Paul. The former city has now ceased to exist, and only extensive ruins remain to testify of its greatness. Like the church at Ephesus, which had lost its first love, the Sardian church which had "a name to live and was dead," has had its lampstand removed for many centuries.


The church in Philadelphia. This city was in the interior, southeast of Sardis, and had never attained the eminence of most of the other seats of the Seven Churches. That the church itself was poor and wanting in worldly endowments seems to be indicated by Re 3:8.

Yet this church and that of Smyrna alone escape censure. Philadelphia is yet a city of eighteen thousand inhabitants, though bearing a Turkish name, has five churches and a Christian population of about three thousand.


Laodicea was situated in the valley of the Lycus, near Colosse and Hierapolis. All three of these churches are named by Paul in the Colossian letter [Col 1:2; 4:13], and an epistle, now probably lost, was sent to Laodicea.

The city of Laodicea was very proud of its wealth in the latter part of the first century, a fact we learn from profane history. The church was probably founded by Epaphras, a companion of Paul. The condemnation of the Lord in this epistle is severe, and its extinction is threatened.

The site of the ancient city is uninhabited now, and of course the church has long since cease to exist.

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