This is not an exhaustive commentary on the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 to 3. This will be a summary of things that struck me and the truths and applications I was able to derive from them.
The churches which are mentioned are, in order:
John uses a similar pattern when describing each church:
- mentions a characteristic of Christ
- praises them for the good things they have done
- rebukes them for the bad things they have done and warns them regarding some of their actions
- for some churches he has some choice extra words
- mentions a reward or two
- for each reward a condition is mentioned
I see the things that John mentioned as a list of things to emulate and things to avoid doing. The rewards are things I can use to motivate myself to be a living sacrifice and to live a life holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1).
The number seven is used a few times, Christ is described as one who holds seven stars in His right hand, who walks among the seven golden lamp-stands, who holds the seven spirits of God,
Christ is the the First and the Last, the Son of God, holy and true, the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
He is described as he who died and came to life again, who has has the sharp, double-edged sword, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze, who holds the key of David (what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open).
Celebrate the Good
John praises the good that each church is doing. I think that sometimes we take the good things for granted and forget to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Celebrate the good!
In this case if you’re doing any of these things to take the time to pat yourself on the back!
John emphasizes that Jesus knows our deeds. Those who were hard-working, showed perseverance, endured affliction/poverty, did not tolerate wicked people, tested those claiming to be apostles, remained true to Jesus’ name, kept His words and commandments, did not renounce Him – these people were praised.
Warning concerning the Bad
If you are doing any of the things for which any of the churches were criticized for you’d better do something about it!
- holding onto false teachings (eg Balaam, Nicolaitans)
- tolerate wicked people (eg Jezebel)
- spiritually dead or asleep resulting in unfinished deeds
- trusting in material riches
There is reference to eternal life, and other rewards in addition to it.
With regards to eternal life, I believe that we are already victorious, through Christ.
- eat from the tree of life
- will not be hurt by the second death (first death is spiritual, second death is physical)
- hidden manna
- white stone with a new name written on it
With regards to the rewards in the fourth church (Thyatira), I find it perplexing as some of these ought to belong to Christ in my opinion. Note that the Book of Revelation is poetic prophesy and is a form of writing that is not necessarily clear – it’s not a manual or a script or a contract!
- authority over the nations
- given the morning star
Others rewards might be meant for the apostles or the patriarchs.
- sit with Christ on His throne
- made a pillar in the temple of God
Apart from the fifth church, the condition for the other rewards is that the recipient is victorious. And as I mentioned earlier, I believe that we are already victorious in Christ.
Anyway, these are my thoughts. Any questions or comments please feel free to write them below!