There are differing approaches when dealing with prophetic scriptures. Some say these things were fulfilled already. Some say these things will be fulfilled in the future. My take on prophecy is a “was and is and is to come” mindset. Meaning, there are past fulfillments, present fulfillments, and future fulfillments. In the final days, there is a final fulfillment.
I want to take some time to consider the 7 churches in Revelation and what we might learn from them today.
First, I want to look at a passage that introduces the 7 churches.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. – Revelation 1:20
In the right hand of the Lord are seven golden candlesticks and seven stars. The seven stars are symbolic of the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks are symbolic of the seven churches.
There are two main points I want to make in this introduction. The first is that the letters to the seven churches are addressed to the angels of the seven churches.
Who are the angels of the seven churches? Angels could be literal angelic beings or they could be messengers in general. I tend to view this as a symbol for messengers of the churches, not of the angelic sort, but regular people. I think anytime we speak in the name of Jesus, we are taking upon us the judgment of a messenger of the Lord.
It is a big deal to take up the name of the Lord and to convey His word to the world, whether our ministries are small or great. These are judged first, and those who are led of them are also judged because each person is responsible for working out their own salvation.
Therefore, when considering the messages to the angels of the churches, we can also consider these as messages to the general assembly of believers. Whether we have a ministry or not, we should consider what we might learn in these letters to the seven churches.
Why does it matter?
Here is the second point I want to make:
Of these seven churches, five are rebuked and threatened to have their “candlestick removed out of its place.” In Revelation 11, we see two candlesticks remaining. It would seem as though the five were indeed removed. I believe that I was rightly taught that the two witnesses of Revelation include the two faithful candlesticks or churches. These are also represented as two olive trees.
The focus right now is on the messages to the seven angels and the rebukes that lead five of the seven candlesticks to being “removed.”
What is this removal? This could happen in a couple of ways. It could be that the five rebuked churches repent and become as the two faithful churches, or it could mean that they did not repent and went on to full apostasy as the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon—the church and “queen” of the false prophet and false Christ who says, “I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.”
I tend to think that both are the case. I tend to think that we all have something to repent for, and if we do, then we might be counted among the two candlesticks that remain. However, I also think it is true that many will not repent and they will later join themselves with the false prophet and “son of perdition” as they persecute the saints of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, let us consider with all diligence what we might learn from these seven churches, so that by the grace of God, we may repent and turn our hearts to Jesus more fully.
At the close, I want to consider the two olive trees and the “son of perdition,” Lord willing. If it is the will of the Father, I will return to the Proverbs and Parables after this series is complete.