"Grace to you and peace from God,
who is and who was and who is to come"
- Revelation 1:4
The Revelation of John was specifically given for the direct benefit of the seven churches in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. However, God knew that people are people and the lessons they needed to learn then, people all throughout history would need to learn as well. That is why he made sure they were included in our Bibles today. So what can we learn from the these now immortalized churches?
From Ephesus we learn that God desires relationship beyond just knowledge of Him. From Smyrna we can learn the importance of faithfulness in persecution. Pergamum teach us to remain faithful when facing false teaching. We learn from Thyatira to remain faithful in the face of cultural pressures. From Sardis we see the importance of staying the course and not growing impatient. Philadelphia was encouraged that their faithfulness to him when they had little was preparing them for great things. Finally from Laodicea we learn the importance of resisting apathy.
These churches were about to witness the entire Jewish state crumble. In a few short years (70 AD) their entire world was going to be destroyed just as Jesus had prophesied (Matthew 24:1-35). In His love for His people he wanted them to know that if they remained faithful till the end of the old covenant age (Hebrews 8:13) that he would keep them safe during this time (Revelation 3:10-11) and they would see the fulfillment of the promised new covenant and all the blessings of liberty that came with it.
Today we can look back and see the full history of God's plan of redemption for his people by reading through the stories and events He preserved in His Word. Even though they are stories and lessons taught to people living thousands of years ago, they still have applications to us today. If you are seeking an answer to whatever you are facing, I encourage you to go to His Word and let the Holy Spirit teach you all things (John 14:26).
We have created a set of coins and bookmarks for the seven churches to help remind us that we are not so different from those early Christians. If you want to study more about the Seven Churches of Revelation we also offer a 7 Day Bible Study Booklet that you can use to get started learning more about why Jesus took a particular interest in them at that time in history.