The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia

Revelation chapters 2 and 3
Church Ephesus Smyrna Pergamum Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia Laodicea
 Chapter & Verse 2:1-7 2:8-11 2:2-17 2:18-29 3:1-6 3:7-22 3:14-22
Period described The early church, <100 The church under persecution, 100 to 312  Paganism enters the church, 312 to 590s Papal supremacy of Dark Ages, 590 to Tribulation Protestant incomplete reformation, 1517 to Tribulation Awakening, Bible spread and studied, 1730-50 to Rapture The end-time church, content but sinful.1900 to Tribulation  
Church age Apostolic Caesars Constantine> Middle Age/Catholic Reformation/
Evangelical Missionary
Apostate/Post modern  
Meaning of name Purpose Myrrh – meaning suffering & death Married, Adulterous Daughter Remnant? One who loves a brother Rule of the people, judgement  
Title of Christ "He who holds the seven stars", walks among seven lampstands Symbols explained in 1:13, 1:20 - Jehovah 'First and Last", Who was dead and came to life Similar words to Is 41:4 etc, Rev 1:17 – the LORD, the I Am   'He who has the sharp two-edged sword" Two-edged sword spoken of in Psa 149:1 & Heb 4:12 – the Word of God) 'Son of God" who has eyes like a flame of, feet like fine brass; searches minds Daniel uses similar words (Dan 10:5, eyes of fire, a vision of God, similar to Rev 1:14,15, brass also used in a similar way – Ezek 1:4, Dan 10:6 etc) He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. Image used elsewhere in Rev – 4:5, 5:6. 'Star" as image used in Numbers 24:17 for the Messiah. He who is Holy & true, holds key of David, opens and shuts. Isaiah 9:7 uses 'throne of David". 'Holy * True also in Rev 6:10 in reference to Jesus as the ruler Amen, the Faithful, and True Witness, the Beginnings of the creation of God. 'The Faithful" used in Deuteronomy 7:9 in relation to Jehovah, parable in Matt 24:45, as Lord, etc and Rev 1:14. the beginning of creation, alluded to in Gen 1:1 etc, Colossians.
Works, labour patience, cannot bear the evil one, tested the false teachers, persevered and had patience, laboured for Christ’s sake Works, trials, tribulation, poverty; blasphemy of false Jews
Jesus knows their poverty, and states they are in fact rich. He also knows about the persecutors from the synagogue of Satan
Works 'although" living where Satan’s throne is  For holding fast to 'My name & faith" even in time of martyrs Works.. love.. faith.. service.. faith.. patience.. works None – ie like Laodicea (1) Works, (2) open door no one can shut (3) little strength, (4) yet kept My word, (5) not denied My name, (6) synagogue of Satan will worship before your feet (7) kept My command to persevere   None
Criticism 'Left first love" – the love of espousal, or marriage partner (Ephesians, Song of Songs) None – as with Philadephia Held to the doctrine of Balaam, and included those with the doctrine of the Nicolaitans – unlike the Church of Ephesus Suffered that woman Jezebel that teaches and seduces servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols –similar to Pergamos that suffered the teaching of Balak (14) A name – (denominational-ism?), the church is dead, inadequate, has imperfect works. 2)     None Not hot nor cold – lukewarm, wretched, (a form of godliness but denying the power thereof) blind, naked state they were rich, when in fact had nothing, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. I will vomit you out of My mouth  
Exhortation Remember and repent, do first works Keep hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans   Be faithful, even until death
Do not fear suffering
Repent Those that have not the doctrine of Jezebel hold fast till I come Remember the gospel, hold fast and repent, watch Hold fast to what you have that no one may take away your crown   Buy gold, clothes, eye ointment (ie to open the eyes to the truth), so their nakedness be hidden  
Warning I will remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Do not fear those things which you are about to suffer…that you may be tested. Unless they repent, Christ w\Will fight against them with sword of mouth (The Word of God sharper than a 2 edged sword – contrasts with the false doctrine for Balaam and Nicolaitans. Christ will kill the children with death, unless they repent (22,23). It is Christ that searches the minds and hearts. Christ will give each according to their works (23) This warning is the longest of the       Be watchful, strengthen the things that remain (suggesting little good exists), remember the truth (3) else Christ will come as a thief in the night. None – hence is like not other church with no condemnation or warning. Buy gold, clothes, eye ointment (ie to open the eyes to the truth), so their nakedness be hidden.
Remedy Remember and repent, do first works (5)  Keep hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans (6) Not really a remedy – like to Philadelphia – an exhort to be faithful, even until death, and not to fear suffering Repent – a common theme for the churches that have sinned Those that have not the doctrine of Jezebel hold fast till I come – they will have no other burden (24) Remember the gospel, hold fast and repent, watch – like Thyatira, he speaks to the few who have not been corrupted. Not really a remedy; more an exhortation - hold fast to what you have that no one may take away your crown. Unique in that the 'hour of trial" will not come to this church – persecution is evident in Ephesus, Smyrna & Pergamum   I rebuke those I chasten - be zealous and repent I stand and knock – open the door and I will come in – appears to speak to the individual rather than the church as a whole, unlike the other letters.
Promise to over- comer Eat from tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God The crown of life (10)  Not hurt by second death (11) Will be given the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name No other burden to those who hold not the false doctrine, and those will be given power over nations, rule with a rod of iron (26,27), the morning star (28) The few names (individuals) who are not defiled will be clothed in white, name in book, and will be confessed before God   I come quickly, a pillar made, inscribed with new name He who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne



1. The meaning of the name of the church - the name are actual geographical places but the characteristics of each is reflect in her name. Each church is also prophetic in terms of the dispensational approach.
Ephesus The desired one full purpose
Smyrna Myrrh; Offering of Sacrifice
Pergamos Much Married; Adulterous
Thyatira Daughter, sacrifice of Labour (?)
Sardis Remnant (?)
Philadelphia Brotherly Love
Laodicea Rule of the people, Judgement

2. The title of Jesus and the revelation of his character is pertinent to each church *.
Ephesus Who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands
Smyrna The First and the Last, who died and came back to life again.
Pergamos Who has the sharp double-edged sword
Thyatira Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
Sardis Who holds seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
Philadelphia Who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. One who opens the door which no one can shut
Laodicea The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
3. The commendation of the Church - Their strong points and merits;
Ephesus Deeds, hard work, perseverance, endured hardship, did not tolerate wicked men
Smyrna Through affliction and poverty did not leave faith
Pergamos Held fast to My Name, kept the faith and did not renounce faith
Thyatira Deeds, love and faith, service and perseverance
Sardis None given
Philadelphia Deeds, kept the word, did not deny my name
Laodicea None given

4. The reproof and rebuke
Ephesus Forsaken their first love
Smyrna None given
Pergamos Teaching of Balaam / Teaching of Nicolaitans
Thyatira Tolerates Jezebel
Sardis Dead
Philadelphia None given
Laodicea Neither hot nor cold and is lukewarm
5. The exhortation and counsel specific to the condition of the particular church;
Ephesus Remember your first love / repent and do the things you did first
Smyrna Be faithful to the point of death
Pergamos Repent, otherwise I will come and fight against them
Thyatira Hold on to what you have until I come
Sardis Remember what you have received and heard; obey it and repent
Philadelphia Hold on to what you have
Laodicea Buy from me gold refined in fire so you can be rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your nakedness; and slave to put on your eyes so that you can see 

6. The promise to the "overcomer"
Ephesus I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.
Smyrna Will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Pergamos I will give some of the hidden manna, I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who angels it.
Thyatira I will give him the authority over the nations. I will give him the morning star.
Sardis They will walk with me, dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will confess him before my Father and his angels.
Philadelphia I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on him the name of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down from heaven from my God; I will also write to him my new name.
Laodicea I will grant him the right to sit with me on my throne.

7. The concluding phrase, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches." Which corresponds with the dispensation of each parable.
Ephesus Apostolic Period sowing of the seeds till 100 AD
Smyrna Persecution Period Parable of the Weeds
Pergamos State Church Period Parable of Mustard Seed
Thyatira Period of Heresy Parable of the Leaven
Sardis Reformation Period Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Philadelphia Missionaary Period Parable of the Great Pearl
Laodicea End time Apostate Church Period The Parable of the Drag Net


David L Simon
21 February 2009
Edited 15 February 2012
Revelation\The Seven Churches - outline