John addressed seven church congregations in the first three chapters of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. He may have sent his message to each of them individually and then the letters were collected later to be added as a preface to this book of apocalyptic prophesy. Or he may have written expecting that his letter and the accompanying mystical book would read and share with others what was addressed to it. He assumed that those who received the message were believers in Christ. (Anatolia and its biblical visionaries – Anne G. Edmonds)
The very first verse of the book provides an appropriate title, and reveals both the source and destination of the message: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”—a perfect title—“which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.” Ultimately, God the Father is the Source of the message contained in this book. He gave it to His Son to give to His servants. John was merely an instrument through which the message was delivered: “And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”
John, in turn, passed the message along to “the seven churches which are in Asia” (1:4). He was following the instruction Jesus Christ had given him in a vision while he was on the island called Patmos: “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea” (1:11).
Once in the possession of the seven churches, the book of Revelation quickly made its way to assemblies of God’s people throughout the known world. It was copied and recopied countless times, and now, some nineteen hundred years later, has made its way into our hands.
To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write this:
‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this : ” I know your works, your labor, and you endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and discovered that they are imposters.
Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.” (Rev 2:1-7)
To the angel of the church in Smyrna, write this:
‘The first and the last, who once died but became to life, says this : “I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich. I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not, but rather are members of the assembly of Satan. Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.’
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor shall not be harmed by the second death.” (Rev 2:8-11)
To the angel of the church in Pergamum, write this:
The one with the sharp two-edged sword says this : ‘I know that you live where Satan’s throne is, and yet you hold fast to my name and have not denied your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was martyred among you, where Satan lives. yet I have a few things against you. you have some people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to put a stumbling block before the Israelites: to eat food sacrificed to idols and to play the harlot. Likewise, you also have some people who hold to the teaching of (the) Nicolaitans. Therefore, repent. Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and wage war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who received it.” (Rev 2:12-17)
To the angel of the church in Thyatira, write this:
‘The Son of God, whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like polished brass, says this ” I know your works, your love, faith, service, and endurance, and that your last works are greater than the first. Yet I hold this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, who teaches and misleads my servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her harlotry.
So I will cast her on a sickbed and plunge those who commit adultery with her into intense suffering unless they repent of her works. I will also put her children to death. Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds and that I will give each of you what your works deserve. But I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not uphold this teaching and know nothing of the so-called deep secrets of Satan: on you I will place no further burden, except that you must hold fast to what you have until I come.
“To the victor, who keeps to my ways until the end, I will give authority over the nations. Hw will rule them with an iron rod. Like clay vessels will they be smashed, just as I received authority from my Father. And to him I will give the morning star.”
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:18-29)
To the angel of the church in Sardis, write this:
The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: ‘I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works completely in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garment; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. The victor will thus be dressed in white and will never erase his name from the block of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 3:1-6)
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this:
The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open, says this: “I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you.
Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test inhabitants of the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.
The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe 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, as well as my new name.”
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”(Rev 3:7-13)
To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write this:
‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation says this: “I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. for you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.’
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”(Rev 3:14-22)