Q. What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for?

A. The seven churches described in Revelation 2-3 were seven literal churches at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance and warning for churches and believers today. The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to warn Christians today that we need to walk holy and perfect as Jesus commands lest we fall-away. These early Christian churches were located in Asia Minor during the era of the Roman Empire, modern-day Turkey. Most were most likely in houses.

The churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only congregations of the seven that Jesus addressed that were not condemned for having sin in the congregation.

Jesus had the following messages to Churches (5 of 7 churches were warned because the had sin in the church)!

To the Church Ephesus – (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).

Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou **art fallen**, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will **remove thy candlestick*** out of his place, except thou repent.

Fallen: G1601 ἐκπίπτω ekpiptō ek-pip’-to
From G1537 and G4098; to drop away; specifically be driven out of one’s course; figuratively to lose, become inefficient: – be cast, fail, fall (away, off), take none effect.

Remove thy candlestick: I wonder how one can remain in Christ with His Light?

To the Church in Smyrna – (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).

Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: ***be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.***

Does one inherit the crown of life if they are unfaithful?

To the Church in Pergamos – (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent (2:16).

Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Can we assume salvation when Jesus Christ will fight against us?

To the Church in Thyatira – (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).

Rev 2:22-23 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Unless Jezebel repents, the wrath of the Lamb will all upon her and He will kill her children.

To the Church in Sardis – (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep (3:2). 

Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Can we assume right standing with Jesus if He comes to us as a thief? This is in contrast to the children of the day who know their Lord’s coming. 1 Thes. 5:5.

To the Church in Laodicea – (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).

Rev 3:16-18 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

To the Church in Philadelphia – (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently (3:10).

Jesus provides a final promise to the believers in Philadelphia and to all believers: “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down from out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Professor Thomas Constable notes, “God promised that He will not just honor overcomers by erecting a pillar in their name in heaven, as was the custom in Philadelphia. He will make them pillars in the spiritual temple of God, the New Jerusalem (21:22; cf.Gal. 2:9; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-10).”

Is one still in Christ if he vomits them out of His body? If we are naked can we believe we area adored with the white raiment that is given to those in salvation?

Rev 21:7 He that OVERCOMETH shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Sounds like there is some working out to do in order to attain immortality.

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of ***you*** an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, ***if*** we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Heb 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Heb 3:16 For some, ***when they had heard***, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Heb 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had ***sinned*** whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Heb 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that ***believed not? ***

Heb 3:19 So we see that ***they could not enter in because of unbelief.***

Sin is defined as unbelief/disobedience.

Deu 32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, ***children in whom is no faith.***

1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

1Co 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1Co 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that ***Rock was Christ. ***

1Co 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1Co 10:6 Now these things ***were our examples,*** to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

1Co 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

1Co 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

1Co 10:9 ***Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. ***

1Co 10:10 ***Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. ***

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed LEST HE FALL.

Rom 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Jesus speaking to His disciples:

Luk 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Luk 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Yes, working…. Philippians 2:12-13
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.