The books of the New Testament are largely letters written by apostles to various churches or individuals. Christendom, in general, accepts all these letters as God’s authoritative word to the church today.
But one of the New Testament books, Revelation, bears the name of JESUS Himself. In fact, the book is entitled, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. It begins with seven specific letters or epistles from Jesus to the churches. Of all the letters, or epistles, of the New Testament, surely, these personal letters of love, with special counsel from our Lord, should receive the greatest attention and concern by His people.
But it is not so. Tragically, these seven imperative letters from Jesus have been almost entirely ignored. Satan, the archenemy of God’s people, must certainly rejoice that most Christians are not listening to Jesus’ important counsel from His own extraordinary book of Revelation.
Thank God, it is not too late. This Revelation Seminar comes to grips with these seven great messages. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we study chapters two and three of Revelation, and listen to Jesus’ crucial counsel for busy Christians in this time.
In Revelation 2:10 Jesus offers the crown of life to every one of His faithful followers. Happily, through Jesus our Saviour, we can all receive this wonderful gift of eternal life.
1. What solemn warning does Jesus give in regard to the extreme importance of every word of Revelation? Rev 22:18-19
Ans: a. If I add anything to Revelation, God will add to me the ____________________
Ans: b. If I subtract anything from Revelation, God will remove my name from _____________
NOTE: Most notes for this lesson are on Exhibit #2. See Point 1 for the note for Question One.
2. Where were these seven churches located? Revelation 1:4
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 2.
NOTICE: This seminar has provided you with a very important one-sheet overview of Jesus’ messages to the seven churches. Please study it carefully before you continue with the next seminar. Please also read chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation before you continue.
3. Three statements that Jesus makes to the seven churches are so exceptionally important and so relevant to Christians in all eras that they were given to all seven churches. What are these three statements that were made to all seven churches?
a. Revelation 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, and 3:15
Ans: “I know thy ____________________________________ “.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 3-a.
b. Revelation 2:7, 2:11.17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, and 3:21
Ans: “To him that ____________________________________ “.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 3-b.
c. Revelation 2:7, 2:11.17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13 and 3:22
Ans: “Hear what the ________________ saith unto the churches “.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 3-c
HERE ARE GOD’s THREE MESSAGES TO EVERY PERSON TODAY
1. God knows all about me. I cannot deceive him.
2. “Overcoming” is imperative. It takes place only through Jesus.
3. I must heed the voice of the Holy Spirit at all times.
NOTICE: As we look at these messages to the seven churches, we will emphasize only the key points for each era.
EPHESUS – ERA OF APOSTLES
EPHESUS, the church of the Apostles, represents God’s church of the first century. Before his death (ca 65 AD) the apostle Paul could say the gospel had been taken to the whole world. Colossians 1:5,6,23. With incredible speed the church grew to over 6 million, by the end of the first century.
4. What reproof did Jesus give Ephesus? Revelation 2:4
Ans: They had __________ their _________ love.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 4.
5. Jesus commended the Ephesus era of the church for their attitude toward false teachers. What was their attitude? Revelation 2:2
Ans: “Thou hast _____________ them which _____________ they are ___________ and are ______________ “.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 5
SMYRNA – ERA OF PERSECUTION
SMYRNA (100 A.D. through 313 A.D.) covers a period of fearful persecution and martyrdom for the church. The Roman Empire attempted to stamp out Christianity. Only God knows how many were decapitated, burned, fed to lions, and slain by the sword. The church lived so close to Jesus He gave them no reproof!
6. What encouragement did Jesus give to Smyrna? Revelation 2:10
Ans: “__________ none of these things which thou shalt suffer …
be thou _________________ unto ________________ and I
will give thee a ________________________ “.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 6
7.What was promised to the overcomer in Smyrna? Revelation 2:11
Ans: “He that ___________ shall not be ____________ of the _________________ death”.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 7
PERGAMOS – ERA OF COMPROMISE
PERGAMOS (313 through 538 AD) cover the era of state supported religion and compromise. Christianity had grown so rapidly that there were places where Christians were in the majority. The Roman Emperor, Constantine, professed conversion and had his entire army baptized as Christians.
Satan, unable to destroy the church through persecution, corrupted it by popularity, compromise and worldly alliance. Pagan beliefs and practices corrupted the church. Pergamos was called Satan’s seat (v. 13) because it was the headquarters of Rome’s heathen religion. The Lord rebuked the church of this era for allowing false teaching to flourish.
8. The doctrines of a man and a group were mentioned. What are their names? Revelation 2:14-15
Ans: a. Man ________________________________________
Ans: b. Group ______________________________________
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 8
THYRATIRA – ERA OF APOSTACY
THYATIRA (538 through the 1400’s AD) is the longest period of all the seven churches. This period, sometimes called the “Dark Ages” was a time of fearful apostacy.
9. The Lord rebuked the church of this era for opening its doors to an evil woman who corrupted it. What was this woman called? Revelation 2:20
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 9
10. What solemn warning did God give to this symbolic Jezebel and all who followed her? Revelation 2:22-23
Ans: a. “I will cast them … into great ________________________________”.
Ans: b. “I will _______________ her ________________ with _____________”.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 10
11. Whom do you think the “rest” are in Thyatira, who opposed the Spiritual corruption of that time period? Revelation 2:24
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 11
SARDIS – ERA OF REFORMATION
SARDIS (1500’s through mid-1700’s A.D.) covers the crucial period of reformation when Spirit filled men shook the world by testing Christian beliefs by God’s Word.
Some of these great men of God founded church denominations, still in existence today. But, alas, when they died, their followers ceased searching for truth, compromised what they already possessed and went backward with astounding rapidity.
12. What did Jesus say was about to happen to the spiritual experience of the church of this era? Revelation 3:2
Ans: It was about to _____________________________________
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 12
NOTE: This solemn lesson is for us today. Keep pursuing truth and follow it as you find it, and blessings will come. Refuse to do so, and calamity comes. Jesus reveals light to me gradually, as I can handle it, John 16:12. If I accept light as He gives it, I receive more, till I have full light, Proverbs 4:18-19. If I refuse light, it goes out and I stumble in darkness, John 12:35
13. What striking words describe the condition of the Sardis era of the church as Jesus viewed it? Revelation 3:1
Ans: “Thou hast a name that thou ___________and art ______________”.
NOTE: See Exhibit 5.2, Point 13
PHILADELPHIA – ERA OF REVIVAL & MISSION
PHILADELPHIA (mid 1700’s to mid 1800’s A.D.) is the era of the birth and expansion of foreign missions and the American and British Bible Societies. Missionaries encircled the world.
Great revival preachers like Whitefield and the Wesleys helped spark a global revival. The greatest revival since Pentecost was fueled by the study of the books of Daniel and Revelation.
The name “Philadelphia” or “brotherly love” is fitting. As Jesus looked at His church of this era, He offered no reproof.
14. This church had difficulties, however, with the same group as did the church of Smyrna. What was the group called? Revelation 2:9, 3:9
Ans: The _______________ of _______________________
NOTE: Notice that the people of Satan’s synagogue (church) were here pretending to be faithful, true members of God’s church and did not reveal their true colors. These are the most dangerous emissaries of the devil, because they appear so righteous and sweet and loving, Jesus calls them wolves in sheeps clothing, Matthew 7:15. We can expect the devil’s representatives to be devious and deceitful. After all, the devil is the father of lies, John 8:44. If we stay close to Jesus and check all teachings by His Word, we will not be deceived, Isaiah 8:20, 30:21.
15. In Revelation 3:7-8, God talks to Philadelphia about something opening and shutting. What was it?
NOTE: The door mentioned here is the door into the Most Holy Place of Heaven’s Sanctuary. The door into the Most Holy Place was opened in Heaven by Jesus during this time period, and no man can shut it. The amazing significance of this event will be studied in detail in two other lessons in this Seminar. Exciting events began to transpire in Heaven when this door opened. Watch for these coming lessons.
LAODICEA – CHRISTIANITY TODAY
LAODICEA (mid 1800’s until Jesus comes). The heart beats faster as we study about the church of our day. These words are direct council and reproof to Christians living now. Jesus knows our spiritual problems and needs. He offers solutions and assistance.
16. What does Jesus say our problems are today? Revelation 3:15-17
Ans: a. Verse 16 – We are __________________________________.
Ans: b. Verse 17 – We feel that spiritually we are _________________ and need __________ when truly we are spiritually ________________ and _____________.
NOTE: This condition is alarming. Nothing is worse than for me to think I am in harmony with God’s will when, instead, I am desperately in need of repentance (verse 19). Many, seemingly devout people, will be lost in the final judgment for the same reason. See Matthew 7:21-23. It is bad enough to be in trouble. It is worse yet to be in trouble and not know it.
17. What three things does Jesus counsel me to obtain in order for me to see myself as I really am, so I may bring my life into harmony with Him? Revelation 3:18
Ans: 1. ______________________________ (a precious metal)
Ans: 2. White _________________________ (clothing)
Ans: 3. ______________________________ (medicine)
18. What is the meaning of gold, white raiment and eye salve?
Ans: a. GOLD means the true riches of Heaven, which are manifested in a golden character, which will stand up under the fire of persecution and adversity. It includes: GOD’s WORD, Psalm 19:7-10, and FAITH WHICH WORKS BY LOVE, Galatians 5:6, James 2:5, and Job 23:10.
Ans: b. WHITE RAIMENT means JESUS’ ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: Isaiah 61:10 and Revelation 19:8. It is given by Jesus as a free gift. We do nothing to earn it. We receive it by faith alone. Zechariah 3:1-5. And it is retained only by faith in Jesus. Romans 1:17.
Ans: c. EYESALVE means (1) DISCERNMENT TO UNDERSTAND GOD’s WORD. Psalm 119:18, 1 John 2:20,27. (2) HOLY SPIRIT TO HELP US SEE OUR TRUE CONDITION AND MAKE PROPER CHOICES. John 14:26, Ephesians 1:17-19.
19. What must I do to be certain that the precious gold, white raiment and eyesalve are mine? Revelation 3:20
Ans: Open wide the ______________ and let Jesus enter my _______________
NOTE: Though Jesus can open many doors, He will not force open the door to my heart. This I must do myself.
THE SPECIAL WORDS OF JESUS TO HIS CHURCH through seven eras end on a somber note. His last day church IS NOT READY FOR HIS APPEARING!
His counsel to us in Revelation 3 is FANTASTIC. However, He has MUCH MORE to say to us in the remaining 19 chapters. SOME COUNSEL WILL BE SHOCKING and STARTLING, but since it is HIS counsel, I WANT IT ANYWAY. Don’t you?
Jesus offers us the pure robe of His righteousness, that we may be clothed. Read Revelation 3:18-20
Are you willing to accept His robe of righteousness?