Jesus' Messages to the Churches
Introduction to the Letters
The second major section of Revelation contains messages to each of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the first section. Before we get into the letters, we should take note of some general characteristics of all the letters.
Each congregation is treated independently. The faults of one congregation are not necessarily the problems in another group, nor do they share accomplishments. This is due to the fact that there is no direct connection between the congregations except for Jesus Christ himself. There is no regional bishop or headquarters directing multiple congregations.
Several of the letters make it clear that the fate of individuals within a congregation is not necessarily shared with the fate of the congregation as a whole.
Each letter follows a basic pattern:
- Each letter is addressed to the angel at the church with the implication that the angel (or messenger) will deliver the message to the members.
- Within each letter, a description of the majestic Christ, found in the introductions, is used to introduced the author.
- He states that he knows their condition; that is, that he has full knowledge of what is happening in the congregation. Jesus is not a remote ruler in his kingdom.
- He praises the things the congregation is doing well, if any.
- He condemns the things the congregation is doing wrong, if any.
- He promises punishment to those who do not correct their faults and rewards for those who do change and follow his commands
- Each letter ends with an encouragement to heed what the Holy Spirit wrote. This shows that what one of the Godhead states, it is the same for all.
While the letters are written to a specific church, the letters to the other churches are expected to read and their messages to be heeded. Each is encouraged to heed what the Spirit says to the churches (take note of the plurality of churches).