The Messages to the Seven Churches: Revelation 1:1-3:22

The Seven Churches
(Under construction some citations needed)
 
The Messages to the seven churches can be taken literally as seven messages to the seven churches which lay in Asia Minor. They can also be taken as prophetic statements which define various periods from the first century to the last days at the time of the end. The Book of Revelation starts with a blessing for anyone who bothers to read it or even hears it.
 
Revelation 1:1-3 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it near.”
 
John tells us that God gave the Lord these messages to show John things which must shortly take place. The Lord sent and signified the word through His angel to John. The word “signified” here is the Greek ‘semaino’ which comes from the Greek word ‘shmaivnw’ which means; to give a sign, to signify, indicate or to make known. We are told to keep those things which are written in it near. Hold on to them and keep them in mind.
 
Revelation 1:4-8 “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes on earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”, says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.””
 
The Lord’s first message is that God, the seven spirits and Jesus, bless the seven churches which are in Asia, Asia Minor. Jesus is the first born of the dead and ruler over the kings of the earth. We are told that Jesus is coming with clouds. Clouds in prophecy usually represent a descending angel.  He is coming to earth and every eye will see Him even the Romans or the Jews who pierced Him.  The Romans pierced Him physically the Jews pierced Him spiritually. All the tribes on earth will mourn because of Him. John says “Even so, Amen”. The Lord then emphasizes the fact that He is the first and the last. That He is alive, that He came, that He died, that He resurrected and He promises that He will return.
 
Revelation 1:9-11 “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write it in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia. To Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.””
 
John tells us that He was on Patmos with a purpose and that purpose was to receive these seven messages to the seven churches. Patmos is an island of the west coast of Asia Minor or modern day Turkey.1 The island of Patmos was a working silver mine in the time of John. John tells us that he was in the Spirit on the Sabbath when he received this visit from the Lord. John is told to send the whole book to the seven churches in Asia. This means that the Revelation and all its messages are meant for all the seven churches in Asia Minor. Again Jesus tells John that He is the First and the Last.
 
The first letter is to the church at Ephesus which was a major trade city and port. Traders wanting to sell their goods would normally start at Ephesus and follow the trade routes. The trade route went from Ephesus to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea in the same order as the letters in the Revelation.2
 
Revelation 1:12-19 “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,  and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire, His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters, He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last, I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.  Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”
 
John then describes the appearance of the Lord. And I would say by John’s reaction that it was a frightening experience. Like Daniel before him John falls to the ground as if dead. The Lord comforts him by saying, “Do not be afraid.” The Lord again reaffirms that He is the first and the last, “He who lives,” and that He has the keys to Hades and of Death. This is to reassure John and everyone reading these messages that He is the Lord despite His appearance. The Lord tells John that His word is a sharp two edged sword which represents the double decisive meaning contained within the word of God. The Lord tells John to write down the things which he sees in the visions, what the current situation was and what the future holds for the church and the fate of all nations on earth. Compare this description with the description of the angel of the Lord in Daniel 10:4-6.
 
Revelation 1:20 “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.””
 
The Lord tells John that the seven stars are angels one for each of the seven churches and that the lampstands he sees are the seven churches.  The seven churches have the light of the true gospel. The Lord in the vision is amongst the seven churches watching over them, guiding them.
 
There is no doubt that the Revelation was meant to be read by all the seven churches and it contains messages from the Lord which addressed the situation at the end of the first century in Asia Minor. As early as the eighth century Historians and theologians could see that the seven churches also represented seven periods in history, with the church at Ephesus representing the age of the apostles and disciples of Jesus.3
 
 
Ephesus     
 
Revelation 2:1-3 “”To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.  I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.””
 
Jesus says to the church of Ephesus that He knows their works, labors and their patience. And that they cannot stand those who are evil. The Ephesians had tested those who said they were apostles and had exposed them as liars.
 
Ephesus became the most important city of the Roman province of Asia. It suffered much from an earthquake in 29 AD, but was rebuilt by Tiberius.4 Paul spent three years of his life at Ephesus trying to convert the local Jews and Greeks.
 
Acts 18:19-21 “And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem. But I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.”
 
During Paul’s second missionary tour he visited Ephesus for a short time and he spoke openly with the Jews in their synagogue. He promised to return which he did in his third missionary tour. In the book of Acts we are told about a riot which broke out in Ephesus. Demetrius a silversmith who made silver idols of the pagan gods started the riot because Paul was preaching that idols did nothing and the only true god was the Father and His Savior. This riot and the gathering of the people took place in the great theatre at Ephesus which could hold over 25,000 people.5
 
Acts 20:17-21 “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You know, from the first day that I come to Asia, in what manner I always live among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.””
 
The Christian churches in Ephesus were the largest and most numerous of the Christian era. Many important religious decisions were made there. This region was predominately populated by Greeks and Jews. Disciples from Jerusalem first took the gospel to Asia Minor and some Greeks and Jews were immediately baptized into the faith. Ephesus was a major trading center and seaport on the Aegean Sea during Paul’s day. Today the city lies seven miles inland due to the accumulation of silt from the Cayster River.6 The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with multiple aqueducts of various sizes to supply different areas of the city, including four major aqueducts.7
 
Revelation 2:4-5 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.
 
The church of Ephesus had performed well but they have lost their first love. The Ephesians were great disciples and upholders of the faith but they had concentrated too much of their time with doctrines and the strict application of the word. There first love was God and they must return to Him. If not as with any church He would remove their lampstand if they did not repent. This problem still exists today in many churches even in the SDA church. These following letters written by Paul to the Ephesians consistently mention the love of God and Christ. So it looks as if Paul could also see that the Ephesians were losing sight of their first love as well.
 
Ephesians 1:1-4 “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
 
Ephesians 3:19 “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
 
Ephesians 4:14-15 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ”
 
Revelation 2:6 “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
 
The Ephesians also hated the Nicolaitans who appear to been a sect of Judaea-Christians in the first to third centuries. They were best known for performing fornications on the Lord's Supper feasts something which the Lord obviously hated.
 
Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let Him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.””
 
The Lord tells all nations to listen to what He has to say to each of the seven churches. This indicates that all these messages are meant for us as well. Those who overcome get to eat from the tree of life and live forever in the paradise of God on the New Earth.
 
 
Smyrna
 
The modern city of Izmir is built on the ruins of the old city of Smyrna. The old city of Smyrna was rebuilt many times in the past due to frequent earthquakes. But the city was rebuilt on each occasion because of its ideal port location. Most of the present-day ruins date from the Roman era, after an earthquake destroyed Smyrna and many other cities in the second century AD. The famous agora or market place was built during the times of Alexander the Great. In 133 BC, when Eumenes III, the last king of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum, was about to die without an heir, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic in his will, and this included Smyrna. The city thus came under Roman rule as a civil diocese within the Province of Asia and enjoyed a new period of prosperity.8 There is some evidence that the early Christians in Smyrna may have observed the Saturday Sabbath.
 
Revelation 2:8-11 ““And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write. These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life. I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you must be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.””
 
First of all the Lord identifies Himself as the First and the Last and He seems to reassure future Smyrnians that He knows the pain associated with death and He came back to life giving all people hope that they too can live again. The Lord tells the church at Smyrna that He knows their works and their tribulations. He also says that He knows their poverty. The Christians in Smyrna may have been financially poor but the Lord tells them that they are rich in faith and the Lord does not rebuke the church. The Christians in Smyrna may have even thought that they were poor in faith. The Christians in Smyrna were apparently being persecuted by the local Jewish community whom the Lord calls, ‘a synagogue of Satan.’ The Lord tells the church not to fear the coming tribulation. The Lord tells them that the devil is about to test some of them and they will have tribulation for ten days. The Lord tells them to remain faithful unto death and He will give them the crown of life. The Lord foresaw that many Christians in Smyrna would be persecuted for their faith and he asks them all to remain faithful until death. “He who has an ear” is the message to all churches; those who overcome the tribulation will not be hurt by the second death. The overall message being that those who overcome this world with live again.
 
I’m sure the Christians in Smyrna would have been well aware of verses like these and found comfort in the word of God.
 
Deuteronomy 4:29-30 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn the Lord your God and obey his voice.”
 
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 
“Polycarp was a major leader, if not the most important one, of the Christian church in the 2nd century. Although based in Asia Minor, he was the first known Christian leader to go to Rome for the express purpose of denouncing various heretics/heresies and to turn people back to the true Christian church (Ibid and Irenaeus, Adversus Haeres, Bk. III). Polycarp, according to Irenaeus, denounced the heretics Marcion and Valentinus as well as pointing out errors of the Bishop of Rome.”9
 
The Smyrna period in history reflects the church from the end of the first century up until the mid-fourth century and the reign of Emperor Constantine. During this period many Christians were being tested for their faith. Many Jews fleeing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD had taken up residence in Asia Minor and the region encompassing all the seven churches. So not only where the Christians in Smyrna faced with persecution from Rome they also had to deal with local Jewish persecution as well.
 
“Intermittent persecution at the hands of various Roman emperors characterized the experience of the church during this period. Under Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180), persecution was sporadic and localized. The first general, systematic persecution of Christians was conducted by Decius (249–251) and Valerian (253–259). Political oppression reached a bloody climax under Diocletian (284–305) and his immediate successors (305–313). Historically, the period represented by the Smyrna church may well be called the Age of Martyrdom. The centuries since have been fragrant (see on v. 8) with the love and devotion of the thousands of unnamed martyrs of this period who were “faithful unto death.””
{Smyrna, SDA Bible Commenatary, 2005}
 
The ten prophetic days of tribulation turns into ten years of literal persecution of the saints. This time period is generally seen as being from 303 to 313 AD, and the terrible persecution begun by the emperor Diocletian. It is interesting to note that the church fathers at the time believed that there was ten periods or waves of persecution under ten successive emperors of Rome. Starting with Nero c.54 AD and ending with Diocletian 313 AD. They predicted that Diocletian’s reign would be the last wave and it was. The Christians in Smyrna faced many tribulations which may have strengthened their faith. They also would have been aware of this verse written by Paul to the Romans.
 
Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
 
 
Pergamos
 
Pergamum rose to prominence during the years of the Greek empire’s division following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Due largely to its strategic position along land and sea trading routes and in part to the wealth of the Attalid kings who ruled the kingdom, the city enjoyed centuries of prosperity that continued when it passed peacefully to Rome’s control in 133 BC. From that point on, Pergamum's fate was inextricably linked to that of Rome, and it rose and fell in tandem with the Roman Empire.10
 
“Its period of greatest importance was during the 3d and 2d century BC, when the Attalids reigned over the kingdom of Pergamum, which comprised much of western Asia Minor.  The area was made into the Roman province of Asia with Pergamum as the provincial capital and residence of the proconsul. The acropolis, built on the summit and slopes of a steep hill rising some 1,000 ft. (c. 300 m.) above the plain, contained most of the important public buildings. Among these were the palace of the Attalids, a great theater which rivaled in size that of Ephesus, temples dedicated to Athena and Demeter, and the most marvelous structure of all, the massive altar of Zeus. The sculptured stone slabs covering the sides of the altar were masterpieces. The sculpture depicted a war between giants and gods, reflecting the victories of the Pergamese over the Gauls, whom they pushed into central Asia Minor, where the latter became the Galatians of NT fame.”11
 
Pergamum is credited with being the home and namesake of parchment (charta pergamena). Prior to the creation of parchment, manuscripts were transcribed on papyrus, which was produced only in Alexandria. When the Ptolemies of Africa refused to export any more papyrus to Pergamum, King Eumenes II commanded that an alternative source be found. This led to the production of parchment, which is made out of a thin sheet of sheep or goat skin. Parchment reduced the Roman Empire’s dependency on Egyptian papyrus and allowed for the increased dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe and Asia. The introduction of parchment also greatly expanded the holdings of the Library of Pergamum.12
 
Revelation 2:12-13 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write. These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is,”
 
At the end of the first century, Pergamum was a thriving city. Jesus tells the Christians in Pergamum that He knows their works and where they live, which is where Satan’s throne is. The city was home to various temples including three dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus. But I believe the words, “where Satan’s throne is” is referring directly to the altar of Zeus which now resides in Berlin.
                                           
“The Pergamon Altar is a monumental construction built during the reign of King Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd century BC on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor. The base is decorated with a frieze in high relief showing the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods known as the Gigantomachy.”13
 
Revelation 2:13 “And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
 
Antipas was the bishop of Pergamum, ordained by the Apostle John, and his faith got the attention of the priests of Asklepios.
 
“Some commentators hold that a Christian by this name at Pergamum had recently been martyred for his faith, presumably for refusing to worship the emperor. If so, the experience and example of this faithful martyr may be considered as typical of that of untold thousands who suffered for their faith in later ages.”14
 
Revelation 2:14-15 “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
 
In the book of Numbers chapter 22 we read about Balaam and Balak. In the plains of Moab Balak king of Moab sought the curse of Balaam to rid the land of the Israelties. But Balaam would not curse Israel instead blessing them on three occasions which angered Balak. I’m sure most of us remember the famous scene where the angel with drawn sword frightens the ass upon which Balaam rode and the ass then speaks to Balaam asking why he struck him.
 
Numbers 24:17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
 
The analogy with Balaam suggests that there were some at Pergamum whose purpose was to divide and ruin the church by encouraging practices that were forbidden to Christians (see below on “things sacrificed”; cf. on Acts 15:29). Balaam was concerned about advancing his own interests, not those of God’s people.15
 
Numbers 25:1-3 “Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.”
 
“These sins led to a mixture of paganism with true religion. Applied to Christian history, this portrayal is peculiarly appropriate to the situation in the church in the period following the legalization of Christianity by Constantine in a.d. 313 and his nominal conversion some 10 or 12 years later. He pursued a policy of blending paganism and Christianity at as many points as possible, in a studied attempt to unite the diverse elements within the empire and thus strengthen it. The favorable, even dominant, position he accorded the church made it a prey to the temptations that always accompany prosperity and popularity. Under Constantine and his successors, almost all of whom continued his favorable policy, the church rapidly became a politico-ecclesiastical institution and lost much of its former spirituality.”16
 
“The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism. (Antinomianism: A belief that is based upon a recognition of the mercy of God as the ground of salvation, but it makes the fatal mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of God is no longer binding.” “Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made God's law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation.  "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)”17
 
Revelation 2:16 “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”
 
The Lord tells the Christians to repent or else He will come to them quickly and fight against them, not with violence, but with the word of God.
 
Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on that stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
 
John 6:31-33 “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.””
 
Various ancient customs have been suggested as providing a basis for this allusion to the gift of a white stone, but none of these is altogether satisfactory. One of the more common ancient customs was that of the use of a white and a black stone by jurors to determine acquittal or conviction. All that may be said with reasonable certainty is that John doubtless refers to some ceremony involving the bestowal of a special gift or honor.18
 
In the ancient world, a white stone was given to one under judgment as an absolution from guilt, a black stone to the condemned.19
 
In the Bible a person’s name often stands for his character, and a new name would indicate a new character. The new is not patterned after the old, but replaces it and is different from it. Here the Christian is promised a “new name,” that is, a new and different character, patterned after that of God (cf. Isa. 62:2; 65:15; Rev. 3:12).20
 
Isaiah 62:2 “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness and all kings your glory. You shall be called a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.”

“The Pergamos period of church history may be thought of as beginning about the time of Constantine’s espousal of the Christian cause, in a.d. 313, or of his supposed conversion—perhaps in 323 or 325—and ending in 538 (see Additional Note at end of chapter). It was during this time that the papacy won religious and to some extent political, leadership of Western Europe (see Additional Note on Dan. 7), and that Satan established his “seat” within the church. The papacy was a skillful blend of paganism with Christianity. This period may be termed the Age of Popularity.”21
 
 
Thyatira
 
The city of Akhisar was ancient Thyatira. Thyatira was initially a small city until the third century when Seleucus Nicator went there. From then the city emerged as a major commercial city.  They had numerous trade guilds. When the Ottomans came the name was changed to Ak-Hissar, Akhisar, "the white fortress." Thyatira was on a main road between Laodicea and Perganum.  The city was part of the imperial post road which linked Italy, Greece and Asia Minor with Egypt. The Roman Emperor Vespasian started great projects at Thyatira. Hadrian also went there in 123 and Caracalla in 215.22
 
The city was known as "Pelopia", but it was named Thyatira by king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC. He was at war with Lysimachus when he learned that his wife had given birth to a daughter. According to Stephanus of Byzantium, he called this city "thuateira" from Greek "θυγατήρ", "θυγατέρα" (thugater, thugatera), meaning "daughter", although it is likely that it is an older, Lydian name in classical times, Thyatira stood on the border between Lydia and Mysia. It was famous for its dyeing and was a center of the indigo trade. Among the ancient ruins of the city, inscriptions have been found relating to the guild of dyers in the city. Indeed, more guilds are known in Thyatira than any other contemporary city in the Roman province of Asia (inscriptions mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers, and bronze-smiths).23
 
Revelation 2:18 “And to the angel of the church at Thyatira write. These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass.”
 
“This is the only place in Revelation that this title is given to Christ, though it is used often throughout the gospels. It comes straight out of Psalm 2:7”24
 
It appears that Christ chooses His words very carefully and when He quotes Psalm 2:7 and the term ‘Son of God’ as it would have held great significants with the Christians in Thyatira.
 
“Robert Mounce writes: '...[Son of God] stands in strong contrast to the local cultic worship of Apollo Tyrimnos, which was merged with that of the emperor (identified as Apollo incarnate) so that both were acclaimed as sons of Zeus. Thus it is not the emperor or the guardian deity of Thyatira, but the resurrected Christ, who is the true Son of God' Thus the true 'Son of God',
 
Jesus, would have been an affront to the state religion and, more specifically, the religion of Thyatira which worshipped Apollo, the son of god, and the emperor, the incarnate son of god.”25
 
Revelation 2:19 “I know your works, love, service, faith and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first.”
 
It appears that the church at Thyatira had been performing good works and they were a progressive and active church. The general consensus is that their latter works were more than their first works. However, when I first read this verse I saw it differently. Their first works were love, love for Christ, and their last works were patience. The Christians in Thyatira had more patience waiting for the return of the Lord.
 
Revelation 2:20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
 
There seems to have been a prophetess in Thyatira who was teaching and seducing the Christians to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Although her name was probably not Jezebel Christ identifies her with the Jezebel of the Old Testament. But notice that Christ is addressing the angel of the church so it was this angel that had allowed the Christians in Thyatira to be seduced by the prophetess.
 
1Kings 16:31 “And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him [Ahab] to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians, and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.”
 
Straightaway we have a link here between Jezebel and Baal worship (sun worship) and I don’t have to tell you who introduced Sunday observance into the church.
 
2Kings 9:7 “You [Jehu] shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord at the hand of Jezebel.”
 
So the Lord tells Jehu to avenge the blood of all the servants of the Lord who fell at the hand of Jezebel.
 
In the book of Daniel and the Revelation we have prophecies relating to Rome and the Papacy which bear a striking resemblance to the story of Jezebel.
 
Daniel 7:25 “He [Rome] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High,”
 
There are some theologians that are now declaring that the persecution of Christians by the Romans was a myth. Even places like Wikipedia tend to water down the inquisitions indicating that the Roman Catholic Church was only interested in providing a platform for a “fair trial” for all Christians convicted of heresy. They don’t even mention the fact that as a result of these trials thousands of Christians were put to death for “heresy” against the Roman Catholic Church’s theology. If you didn’t agree with the Roman version of Christianity you were deemed a heretic and imprisoned and finally put to death.
 
 “Ancient Thyatira possessed a temple, dedicated to a deity called Sambathe, in which an officiating prophetess gave oracles. Some Bible commentators have though that the words of John about “Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants” (Rev. 2:20) refer to this oracle-giving prophetess in the temple of Sambathe.”26
 
As mentioned before Thyatira had the most guilds of any city in the Roman province of Asia. These guilds were precursors to the workers unions that we have today.
 
“In order to work in these unions, which constituted the entire business of the city, Christians had to join a union, or guild, made up of pagans for the most part. The meetings of the guilds were devoted to licentious debaucheries which were connected with the worship of erotic idols of the Greek world. Let me quote from the great British Bible scholar William Barclay. He says,
 
“These guilds met frequently, and they met for a common meal. Such a meal was, at least in part, a religious ceremony. It would probably meet in a heathen temple, and it would certainly begin with a libation to the gods, and the meal itself would largely consist of meat offered to idols. The official position of the church meant that a Christian could not attend such a meal.””27
 
The prophetess in church history represents the period of the Catholic Church’s influence over Christianity. Teaching and seducing the Christians to commit adultery alludes to the church as the woman and Christians where committing adultery by participating in the practices of pagan worship with the prophetess. Just as Jezebel had persecuted the saints of the Lord the Roman Catholic Church has followed in her example.
 
Revelation 2:21-23 “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give each one according to your works.”
 
The Lord tells us that this prophetess does not repent and unless those with her do repent they will suffer great tribulation. The Lord then adds that He will kill her children and all the churches will know that he is the One who knows everyone’s thoughts and their true character.  And we are again reminded of the coming judgment where each person receives according to their works.
 
Revelation 2:24-24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest of Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come.”
 
The Lord tells the remaining Christians who have not known the depths of Satan, to hold fast to what they have. So we have a connection between the prophetess’ teachings and the depths of Satan. The Catholic Church professes to be the one and only true church however their record speaks for its self and their traditions are known to be full of pagan traditions and idol worship which Christ compares to knowing the depths of Satan.
 
Revelation 2:26-29 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations. “He shall rule them with a rod of iron, they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels', as I also have received from My Father, and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””
 
The Lord’s message to those who overcome and keep His works until the end is that He will give them power over the nations. He shall rule them with a rod of iron. These verses are expanded upon later in the Revelation.
 
Revelation 19:15 “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
 
The verse also reminds me of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation of it in Daniel chapter two.
 
Daniel 2:34-35 “You watched while a stone was cut without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the earth.”
 
Then the Lord quotes the passage direct from Psalm 2:7-9.
 
Psalm 2:7-9 “I will declare the decree; the Lord has said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.””
 
Jesus tells the Christians in Thyatira that those who overcome would receive the morning star which represents Jesus Himself.
 
Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
 
This is God’s response to Lucifer and his agenda.
 
Isaiah 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!”
 
The name Lucifer comes from the Latin Vulgate, and means “light bearer.” The term, as here used, seems first to have been identified with Satan by Tertullian, Jerome, and other early Fathers of the church, and into common usage in this sense during the Middle Ages. In 2 Peter 1:19 Christ is referred to as phoµsphoros, “day star”; literally, “light bearer.” In Rev. 22:16 He is called “the bright and morning star [literally, “dawn star,” or “star of the dawn”].” As applied to Satan, the various terms—helel, heoµsphoros, Lucifer, etc.,—seem to reflect the thought of the high position he once held in heaven, …. . Strictly speaking, none of these terms is a proper name, though all have come to have that meaning; rather, they are attributive terms denoting the high state from which Lucifer fell. This description applies to Satan before his fall, as next to Christ in power and authority and head of the angelic hosts.28
 
While in Philippi Macedonia, Paul and Silas stayed with a woman named Lydia from Thyatira, who continued to help them even after they were jailed and released.
 
Acts 16:13-14 “And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”
 
The first thing to make note of here is the day on which these women met to pray, the Saturday Sabbath.
 
Lydia of Thyatira is regarded as the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. Several Christian denominations have designated her to be a saint.29
 
As pointed out in the Revelation and known from history Thyatira was well known as the place to buy purple died garments. Throughout the Old Testament the colours purple, crimson and blue adorned the tabernacle and then the temple of Solomon. Purple was the colour of royalty in many kings’ courts including the Romans and was also adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and its clergy.
 
Revelation 17:1-4 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.”
 
In the book of Mark we read about the crucifixion of Jesus.
 
Mark 15:15-18 “So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Ba-rab’bas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praeto’ri-um, and they called together the whole garrison. And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, “Hail King of the Jews.””
 
 
Sardis                              
 
Revelation 3:1-6 “”And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, these things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  Remember therefore how you have received and heard, hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name form the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who as an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””
 
We are told that this church has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. The seven spirits of God go throughout the world observing everything that happens and presumably they then report back to God the Father. Stars usually represent angels which are messengers. So we can say that once the seven spirits report back to God. He then gives each angel a message to be sent throughout the world. Church in Sardis is said to be alive, but they are dead, meaning they are not perfect. The Christian churches must have been present in the first century.  A Moslem mosque appears to have been built in the Christian sector from c.200 – 616 AD. Sardis was destroyed by the Mongols c.1402. The Lord says He will come when they least expect this is a message for the church and for us all today. Some of those shall walk with Him on the new earth. Those that overcome will not be blotted out from the book of life and He will confess their name to His Father in the final Judgment.
 
“The city of Sardis was built around B.C. 500 and was located on a narrow plateau fifteen hundred feet above sea level, about thirty-five miles southeast of Thyatira. Because the city was built in a mountainous region it was a natural citadel. It was the capital of the Lydian Empire and was still an important city during the Roman Empire. Sardis had become famous for their abilities in arts and crafts. They made lavish use of the local brightly colored and semi-precious stones such as fire opal and banded agate. The Sardians also had a process in which they used blue chalcedony that they mined nearby. Their jewelry was renown throughout the empire. Some historians claim that Sardis was the first city to mint coinage using the precious metals; gold and silver. The nearby mountains were dotted with gold mines thus making the city the monetary capital of the region. The patron deity, named Cybele, was believed to possess the power and ability of restoring the dead back to life. The Romans built a temple for the goddess Artemis and a large bath-gymnasium complex. An earthquake hit the city in A.D. 17, causing tremendous damage.”30
 
Disaster came to the great city under the reign of the emperor Tiberius, when in 17 AD, Sardis was destroyed by an earthquake, but it was rebuilt. It was one of the great cities of western Asia Minor until the later Byzantine period. Since 1958, both Harvard and Cornell Universities have sponsored annual archeological expeditions to Sardis. These excavations unearthed perhaps the most impressive synagogue in the western diaspora yet discovered from antiquity, yielding over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions as well as numerous mosaic floors.”31
 
“By the end of the first century B.C., it had become an important center of Christianity and home to a significant Jewish community. The synagogue at Sardis, discovered by chance in 1962 during excavations by Harvard and Cornell Universities, measures over 300 feet in length—the largest of its kind. Originally, the floors were paved with ornate mosaics and its walls covered with multicolored marble.”32
 
 “The church at Sardis was pronounced as being "dead" (3:1). It appeared to be alive – had "a reputation of being alive" – looked spiritually vibrant on the outside – but was spiritually lifeless. The church was Christian in name only. This recalls Christ’s scathing rebuke of the Pharisees who "look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean" (Matthew 23:27).”33
 
Mileto was the bishop of Sardis in the second century AD, he wrote to various Roman officials at the time. Mileto’s Apology seems to be a letter written to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. The main issue for Mileto’s letter was the persecution of Christians in Sardis at the time the Christians in Sardis were being plundered by the Romans. Mileto also raised concerns of idolatry in the Christian church and the practice of relying on the teachings of church father’s to condone it.
 
“Eusebius preserves Melito's list of Old Testament scriptures, the first such list known to scholars, and fragments of his discourse recommending that Marcus Aurelius adopt Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. Melito's best-known work is the Peri-Pascha, a Holy (Good) Friday sermon pieced together from manuscript fragments in the XX Century which shows parallels between Easter (the new passover) and the Passover haggadah. Melito's contemporaries praise his skill in exegesis and comment on his ability to demonstrate parallels between the Old and New Testaments. His contemporaries also called Melito a prophet or a beacon, but his rhetorical style caused later writers to question the soundness of his theology, some of which seems to akin to the philosophy of the Stoics. Melito's work, which fell out of favor in the IV Century, influenced the thinking of Irenenaus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.”34
 
“Around 170 after traveling to Palestine, and probably visiting the library at Caesarea Maritima, Melito compiled the earliest known Christian canon of the Old Testament, a term he coined. A passage cited by Eusebius contains Melito's famous canon of the Old Testament. Melito presented elaborate parallels between the Old Testament or Old Covenant, which he likened to the form or mold, and the New Testament or New Covenant, which he likened to the truth that broke the mold, in a series of Eklogai, six books of extracts from the Law and the Prophets presaging Christ and the Christian faith.”35
 
“The Sardis of John’s time was still in the process of reconstruction after it had been destroyed by the earthquake of 17 AD. Its glory seemed to have already departed when he reminded the Christian community there that the city had a name, or reputation, for being alive while in reality it was dead (Rev. 3:1). However, the city recovered, and by the year 200 it had reached the peak of its growth and area, with a population estimated at more than 100,000. It was a provincial capital under Rome.”36
 
The Sardis period in church history represents the post-Reformation period.37 You could say that this period covers the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
 
 
Philadelphia
 
Revelation 3:7-13  “”And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,  These things say He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.  I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it, for you have little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie – indeed I will make some of them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on earth.  Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go out no more.  I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””
 
Jesus says that they have an open door to Him. They are the only church which has no faults, apart from little strength. They will be worshiped by some of those from the synagogue of Satan, those who aren't Jews, possibly referring to the Catholic Church. Because they have kept His command to persevere He will spare them from a future trial possibly the seven last plagues of wrath. They currently have the crown. They will be a pillar in the temple of God, where they will stay. They become God’s people and they will be in the New Jerusalem. They will know The Lord’s new name.
 
At the time that this was written the kingdom was in the hands of the Romans, Judea was a Roman province. The Palestinians are now the majority in Israel and they control the temple mount and the religious activities present there.
 
“Philadelphia was founded about 150 B.C. by King Attallus of Pergamum, whose nickname was Philadelphus, which means "lover of a brother." This man was noted for the admiration and love he had for his brother, Eumenes, and he named this city in honor of him. One feature about the city, which ties closely to us here in the Bay Area, was that the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A. D., along with Sardis and other cities in that locality. Most of the others recovered rather quickly from the disaster, but the after-shocks continued in Philadelphia for quite a number of years, with the result that the people had to flee the city repeatedly. Tiberius Caesar helped Philadelphia to recover from the earthquake, and out of gratitude the city changed its name to Neocaesarea (New Caesar), and for a while it bore that name.”38
 
“Philadelphia was Located at an important road junction. Both the Royal Road between Smyrna and the East and the road southeast from Pergamum to Attalia on the Mediterranean coast passed through it. All east-west and north-south trade in the province of Asia passed through Philadelphia. Its position made it an outpost of Hellenism, founded to spread Greek language and culture in Lydia and Phrygia. Lacking an heir, Attalus III Philometer, the last of the Attalid kings, willed his kingdom, including Philadelphia, to his Roman allies upon his death in 133 BC. In 129 BC Rome established the province of Asia by combining Ionia and the former Kingdom of Pergamum.”
 
“Like other towns in the region, Philadelphia prospered through agriculture. The soil was suited to growing grapes. Wine was an important product, thus the city was a center of worship of Dionysus, god of wine and fertility. The flocks that grazed in the area supplied wool and hides for textiles and leather production. Philadelphia was easily defended but the surrounding district was disastrously earthquake prone. A massive earthquake in 17 AD completely ruined the city; the citizens lived in fear of aftershocks for years afterward.
 
There is not much to see from the early city. The site is now covered by modern Alasehir ("city of Allah" or God). The only extant remains are the old acropolis, ruins of a 7th century AD church, an unexcavated theater, and a length of the city walls and gate from the Byzantine era. Below, Google Earth view of modern Alasehir.”39
 
It stands on elevated ground commanding the extensive and fertile plain of the Gediz River, (Hermus in antiquity) presents at a distance an imposing appearance. It has several mosques and Christian churches. There are small industries and a fair trade. From one of the mineral springs comes a heavily charged water popular around Turkey.
Within Turkey, the city's name is synonymous with the dried Sultana raisins, although cultivation for the fresh fruit market, less labour-intensive than the dried fruit, gained prominence in the last decades. As Philadelphia, Alaşehir was a highly important center in the Early Christian and Byzantine periods, and remained a titular see of the Catholic Church.”40
 
“Philadelphia was a prosperous Byzantine city, called the "little Athens" in the 6th century AD because of its festivals and temples. Presumably this indicates that the city wasn't entirely converted to Christianity. Ammia, the Christian prophetess, was from Philadelphia, however. In about the year 600 the domed Basilica of St. John was built, remains of which are the main archaeological attraction in the modern city. The Byzantine walls that once surrounded the city have all but crumbled away. A few remnants are still visible at the northeast edge of town. The city was taken by the Seljuk Turks in 1074 and 1093-94. In 1098, during the First Crusade, it was recovered by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I. In the 11th to 15th centuries AD, it was the seat of the doux (governor) and stratopedarches (military commander) of the Thrakesion theme.41
 
It was the center of several revolts against ruling Byzantine emperors- in 1182, led by John Komnenos Vatatzes, and 1188-1205 or 1206, led by Theodore Mangaphas, a local Philadelphian, against Isaac II Angelos. At that time, the bishopric of Philadelphia was promoted to metropolis. In the 14th century, Philadelphia was made the metropolis of Lydia by the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, a status it still holds. It was granted this honor because the city did not capitulate to the Ottomans. The city was prosperous especially in the 13th and 14th centuries; there was a Genoese trading colony and the city was an important producer of leather goods and red-dyed silk (whence, perhaps, its Turkish name, which probably means "red city"). By the 14th century, the city was surrounded by Turkish emirates but maintained nominal allegiance to the Byzantine emperor. The town remained prosperous through trade and its strategic location.42
 
Philadelphia was an independent, neutral city under the influence of the Latin Knights of Rhodes, when taken in 1390 by Sultan Bayezid I and an auxiliary Christian force under the Byzantine emperor Manuel II after a prolonged resistance, by which time all the other cities of Asia Minor had surrendered to the Ottomans. Manuel had been forced by Bayezid to participate in subjugating Philadelphia to Turkish rule, a bitter irony given its long resistance. Twelve years later it was captured by Timur, who built a wall with the corpses of his prisoners.”43
 
Most SDA theologians and some historians place the Philadelphia period at the beginning of the Advent Awakening in the early nineteenth century. I believe though that this is the period in which we are now living. Most recently in the church there seems to be a shift from purely Adventists beliefs being preached to more uniform spiritual themes being preached on a regular basis by some that have recently been taught at Avondale and other SDA institutions. The emphasis being that we are very good at preaching the word and its truths but we are lacking spiritually and we need to have a closer relationship with the Lord. This is very dangerous teaching especially when those delivering these types of sermon don’t understand what they are actually preaching. Hand movements especially should be kept to a minimum otherwise invoking of evil spirits can occur and has done.
 
 
Laodicea
 
Revelation 3:14-22 “”And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, these things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.  I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””
 
We first of all are told that Christ is the Amen this may relate back to the Egyptian god Amun and is significant in the eyes of the Jews relating to the Exodus from Egypt. He is the faithful and true witness we can depend on Him that His word is truth. He was there in the beginning with God the Father and everything was created through Him and His Voice. He says they are lukewarm neither cold nor hot as such He will reject them. They are rich and need nothing in their own eyes and such they are really wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked in His eyes. They have to earn or purchase their salvation from Jesus because they are this way in reality. Fifty percent of them Jesus loves, but the other fifty percent reject Him. Even so they also have an open door to Him and the kingdom of heaven. Those who overcome will receive the chance to sit on the throne next to Him on the new earth.
 
Seven Day Adventists believe they have a connection to, or identify themselves with, the Laodicean church believing in their doctrine.  The Roman Catholic Church has confused earn salvation with purchase salvation through giving to the church.  As usual turning it all around to suit themselves, and not the Lord. Today’s Christians must also earn the trust of Jesus and be reconciled to the Father. By the end of their lives, confessing all sins to the Father and keeping their faith in Jesus our Savior.  We still have an open door and an open invitation. The messages to the seven churches reveals more than just church performance and rewards, it also reveals history according to the Revelation. Christ wasn't joking when He said that the covenant was given to the Gentiles. These churches are the Gentiles, not one was in Jerusalem they were all in Asia Minor.44
 
“The city was a place of great finance and banking. In 60 A.D the city was hit by a major earthquake. The city refused help of the Roman empire and rebuilt the city itself.”

“It is thought that the Laodiceans were being criticized for their neutrality or lack of zeal (hence "lukewarm"). Based on this understanding, the pejorative term Laodicean is used in the English language to refer to those neutral or indifferent in matters of faith.”45
 
“However, some scholars have suggested that this metaphor has been drawn from the water supply of the city, which was lukewarm, in contrast to the hot springs at nearby Hierapolis and the pure water of Colossae (Barclay). The archaeology shows Laodicea had an aqueduct that probably carried water from hot mineral springs some five miles south, which would have become tepid before entering the city (see main Laodicea article). Strabo states that the water was hard, though drinkable. The imagery of the Laodicean aqueduct suggests not that "hot" is good and "cold" is bad, but that both hot and cold water are useful, whereas lukewarm water is useless.”46
 
“The reference to the "white raiment" may refer to the cloth trade of Laodicea. The city was known for its black wool that was produced in the area. The reference to eye medication is again often thought to reflect the historical situation of Laodicea. According to Strabo (12.8.20) there was a medical school in the city, where a famous ophthalmologist practiced. The city also lies within the boundaries of ancient Phrygia, from where an ingredient of eye-lotions, the so-called "Phrygian powder", was supposed to have originated.”47
 
“There was a Council in Laodicea, A.D. c.363-64, although the date is disputed. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 approved the canon of this council, making these canon ecumenical. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Laodicensis in Phrygia.”48
 
The promise to the "overcomer" at Laodicea reveals the hidden presupposition of all the similar promises in every one of the seven messages, that is, that Jesus is himself the model for what it means to "overcome," or "conquer." The promise is, "To him [that is, to anyone] who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne" (v. 21). Those who "overcome" (or "conquer" or "triumph") in every congregation will do so in the same way Jesus did. Thus the conclusion to the seven messages sets the stage for John's subsequent visions of the triumph of Jesus and his people over the powers of evil (compare 5:5-6).”49
 
The age represented by the church of Laodicea represents the final church at the time of the end just prior to the return of Christ. While many see this as being the church of today I’m afraid we haven’t reach the end just yet and this church is still a future church.
 
 
References
1. Patmos, Wikipedia, 2016.
2. Seven Churches in Revelation, All About Archaeology, 2016.
3. Representative of Seven Stages of Church History, Bible Study Tools, 2016
4. Ephesus, SDA Bible Dictionary, 1995
5. Ephesus, Roman Period, Wikipedia, 2016.
Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 260). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Ephesus, Wikipedia, 2016.
Izmir, http://shelf3d.com
Polycarp, http://www.cogwriter.com/polycarpletter.htm, 2016
 Ancient Pergamon, Bible History Daily, 2016
Pergamos, Pergumum, SDA Bible Dictionary, 2005
Library of Pergamum: Parchment, Wikipedia, 2013
Pergamon Altar, Wikipedia, 2013 
Antipas, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Balaam, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Things sacrificed, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
wordoftruthradio.com, 2015
SDA Bible commentary, 2005
The Seven Churches: Pergamos, www.cgg.com, 2013
SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Satan’s seat, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
The Sephardic Community of Akhisar (Thyatira), Turkey, http://www.sephardicstudies.org/akhisar.html, 2016
 Thyatira, Wikipedia, 2016
The Revelation to Thyatira - Jezebel in the Church, by David Elvery, http://www.sermoncentral.com, 2015
Thyatira, the Son of God, http://www.arlev.co.uk/thyatira.htm, 2015
Thyatira, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Thyatira: The Worldly Church, by Ray. C. Stedman, 2013
Lucifer, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Lydia of Thyatira, Wikipedia, 2013
Sardis, the church of the living dead, by Steven P. Wickstrom
Sardis, Wikipedia, 2013
Sardis, by Colette Hemingway, http://www.metmuseum.org
The Church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6), http://www.gci.org/bible/rev/sardis
Melito of Sardis, http://thydailybreadforum.proboards.com, 2014
Ibid
Sardis, SDA Bible Commentary, 2005
Prophetic interpretation, Development of, SDA Encyclopedia, 2005
The Little Church that Tried, by Ray C. Stedman, http://www.raystedman.org
http://www.welcometohosanna.com/REVELATION/Philadelphia.html
Alaşehir, Wikipedia, 2013
Ibid
Ibid
Ibid
{Laodicean church, Wikipedia, 2013}
Ibid
Ibid
Ibid
Ibid
The Message to Laodicea, BibleGateway.com