Revelation: Clarifying the “churches” in Revelation 1,2,3

Recently I’ve been listening to Pastor Richard Jordan.

I think he is a wonderful teacher and I do understand the:  “Times Past”?..(O.T. up to 1st few chapters in Acts)?..”But Now” (Church age) (Romans to Philemon) ??.”Ages to Come”  (Hebrews to Revelation) as God dealing again with the nation Israel.

Here’s my question:  I thought Rev. was God picking up the program with Israel (after the rapture of the church)?..however when reading Rev.1:4? reads?. “JOHN?TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES?..

I remember you teaching “always look to see ‘who is speaking?  ‘to whom is God speaking TO? and ‘what is being said’?.in order to rightly divide the Word of truth.

So, when reading Revelation and I saw it’s the Revelation OF Jesus?TO John??TO the 7 churches (1:4)??I was sort of confused.

Can you give me some clarity on this???   I know Chapters 2: and 3: are about the 7 churches? this who John was to tell?….

Yet?.after Chapter 4?.it’s all about the tribulation and God’s winding down with Israel and ushering His kingdom.

Appreciate your time and your teaching of the Word of God.   Many things are very clear now that hadn’t been before.

Thanks so much and God bless you.

Sorry I could not get back to you sooner.  Let me assure you that you cannot committee the sins of Hebrews 6 & 10 for two reasons.  First you are not a Hebrew that these warnings are written to and secondly you do not live in the last days for which these warnings apply.

Thanks for watching Forgotten Truths.  I think the following will help you with your question.

There is a common error which causes much confusion. The age in which we live today (the “But Now”) is called “the dispensation of the grace of God” – Ephesians 3:2. It is the age of “grace.” It is not the “church age” as so many say. When the Apostle Paul refers to us as the “church” he is referring to what he said in Ephesians 1:22,23 “the church which is his body.” We are “the Body of Christ.” The reason Paul said “the church which is his body” is because there is a “church” which is not his body.

The Lord does have two churches.  “Church” is a called out assembly.  Acts 7:38 Moses led “the church in the wilderness” 

Matthew 16:18 the Lord told Peter “upon this rock I will build my church.”  In the Gospels and the early part of Acts the Lord Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles were calling out a believing remnant from within Israel.  At Pentecost, this was the “church” they were “added to” (Acts 2:47).  This church is “the nation bearing forth the fruits,” the nation the “Kingdom” shall be “given to.”  Peter calls them “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9).

When God postponed building the kingdom church, and sent Paul to the Gentiles, it was for the purpose of forming “the church which is his body” (Ephesians 1:22,23).  The “church which is his body” is God’s called out assembly from Jews and Gentiles which, when saved, are no longer Jew or Gentile, but the “body of Christ.”  We are called out, not to be a nation for the purpose of setting up God’s Kingdom on the earth, but a “body” raptured and made to “sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

God has a two fold purpose according to Ephesians 1:10.  A purpose for the heavens and a purpose in the earth.  Both brought under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ in the “dispensation of the fulness of times.”

The age of grace interrupted God’s calling out of the Kingdom church, and postponed their program. However, Christ’s earthly Kingdom is still their hope and the books of Hebrews – Revelation were written to prepare those Saints (had the age of grace ended in their life time) and those who will live in the time of the future tribulation, to endure the events covered in the book of Revelation.  This is the next event in their program. Since Acts 8:1 and 11:19 we are told that the Kingdom Saints were scattered. Eventually they were scattered as far as the places where they are when Peter writes to them in I Peter 1:1 and as James 1:1 simply says: “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” These are the Seven Churches John is writing to in Revelation 1-3 and in each case telling them of their strengths and weakness and what they need to do to “overcome.” It is the events that follow in Revelation 4-19 that they are being prepared to overcome. They must endure to the end to be saved into the Kingdom. Many must die in the process of overcoming the Anti-Christ and his mark. In reading the letters to the Seven Churches it is easy to see that they are Jewish Kingdom Churches.

Peter, James and John fulfilled their agreement with Paul in Galatians 2:9 that Paul “should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” The “circumcision” being the believing remnant of Israel. That is exactly who Peter, James and John write to in their epistles.

Thank you Tom for your detailed answer. 

I have never heard of “the Lord having two churches” but with the scriptures given, I was able to see somewhat what you meant.  I had always thought there was only the ONE church. 

I understand Peter, James and John writing to the circumcision and Paul writing to the Gentiles.

I have another question though regarding your statement re: John writing to the 7 churches in Revelation….. (see below)

These are the Seven Churches John is writing to in Revelation 1-3 and in each case telling them of their strengths and weakness and what they need to do to “overcome.”  It is the events that follow in Revelation 4-19 that they are being prepared to overcome.  They must endure to the end to be saved into the Kingdom.  Many must die in the process of overcoming the Anti-Christ and his mark.  Reading the letters to the Seven Churches it is easy to see that they are Jewish Kingdom Churches.  (bold emphasis mine).

In one of Paul’s epistle…he writes to the Church of Ephesus…..Is that considered the “church which is the Body of Christ?”  which would be ‘raptured; and if so……then in the Book of Revelation where John is giving a message to the 7 Jewish Kingdom Churches….is this church of Ephesus a different church …that would be going to the tribulation and would have to overcome?……or …… it one and the same Church of Ephesus that Paul was writing to?????

Appreciate your time Tom in answering my questions.  I try to ‘dig deep’ into God’s Word and I know all the answers are there.

Thanks so much for your answer.

First just to point out the Jewish-ness of the 7 churches in Revelation consider the setting of the vision of Chapter 1:12-20.  The “Candlesticks” and the “Angels” who are the “Messengers to the 7 Churches.”

The “Candlesticks” were the light of God in Israel’s Temple.  “Angels” according to Hebrews 1:14 through 2:5 are “ministering spirits” to those who are “heirs” of the “world to come.”  That is Israel’s “salvation” – Hebrews; and the Kingdom the Lord Jesus began to preach unto them.

Then note:  “remove thy candlestick” – Rev 2:5; “synagogue of Satan” – Rev 2:9; “Balaam” and “children of Israel” – Rev 2:14; “Jezebel” and “my servants” – Rev 2:20; “the key of David” – Rev 3:7; “Jews and are not” – Rev 3:9; and the promise “grant to sit with me in my throne” – Rev 3:21; are all terms and promises concerning the nation of Israel.

Now concerning the “Churches” particularly “Ephesus.”  Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 15:17-20

“I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.  For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:”

When Paul launched his second apostolic journey in Acts 16:6-9, it is very interesting that after ministering in “the region of Galatia” the Holy Spirit guided Paul away from places.  Even “Galatia” being called a “region” that incorporated certain cities is interesting.  When you study that region there are two parts, a northern and southern.  Keep that in mind.

When Paul decided to go to Asia (where Ephesus is at) he was “forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.”  After that he thought to go to Bithynia (next to the Northern region of Galatia), but “the Spirit suffered them not “ to go into Bithynia.  So eventually the Spirit guided them into Macedonia.

What makes that interesting is when you read  I Peter 1:1

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”

Peter is writing the Jewish believers who are now scattered among the Gentiles.  The cities in bold are the places Paul was forbidden to go to.  I believe Peter’s Galatia is different from Paul’s Galatia.  However there is no question about Asia and the city of Ephesus.  There were Jewish Kingdom believers scattered there and Paul did not build on another man’s foundation.

But some years later Paul finally did preach in Ephesus.  First for a short time in Acts 18:19-21, and then after that when he returned in Acts 19 “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” – verse 10. In fact the verses that follow indicate he stayed another year totaling a three year stay.  Here according to Romans 15:17-20 he preached to “Gentiles.”  This is the church of Ephesus Paul wrote to.

John in the book of Revelation is witting to the Jewish assembly that Peter also wrote to. 

There is also one more important thing to consider about the 7 Churches of Revelation.  Since John is caught away “on the Lord’s day” meaning the future “day of the Lord,” then those 7 Churches are future Jewish Churches who must “overcome” the future day of the Lord.  It cannot be proven that all the 7 Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation existed in John’s day.  Some did, but historians have not proven all 7 did.  I have never tried to prove it either way, because I know they will have to exist in the future to successfully make it through the tribulation.

Now you have even more to think about.