Over the last few months, we have been discussing the first chapter of the
book of Revelation. It was about Christ revealing Himself to John. John is
shown in a very impressive way the glory of the risen and exalted Christ in
heaven. This happens after he is taken away in the spirit on the Lord's Day
and taken up into heaven. He sees Christ as the one who has all power (the
first and the last, the alpha and the omega) and who, in great love and
faithfulness, holds and rules His church. It is His church, where He is active
with His Spirit.
John is then instructed to write down what he sees. The subject is, "Write
the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things
which shall be hereafter." (1:19) What John sees is about the future.
And then we come to Revelation 2 and 3. Those two chapters belong
together. These two chapters contain seven letters written to seven churches
in Asia Minor, the western part of present-day Turkey. The congregations
are already mentioned in 1:11.
Each of the seven letters is sent to a specific congregation. The letter
specifically addresses that congregation. But at the same time, the book of
Revelation itself is one large writing, and thus, all seven letters are sent to
all seven congregations. It is very clear from these letters that Christ knows
his church through and through.
The number seven often indicates fullness. “Seven” here symbolically
indicates the fullness of the church; therefore, with these seven letters, all
congregations of all times worldwide are addressed. All of them, including
us, must know "about the things which are, and the things which shall be
There are many who see seven ages in the seven epistles. The text itself
gives no reason for this. Nowhere is there even a hint given in that
direction. That is complete speculation, and we will not go along with that.
But these letters were primarily written as comfort. The Lord knows His
church, His bride, and she is in His hand. And that bride is not perfect! But
these seven letters are also exhortation and instruction; the Lord longs for a
bride dedicated to Him and made pure. He gave and gives all to adorn his
black bride. Would we not go to such a heavenly bridegroom?