Why seven churches? It’s the first of 54 instances in Revelation
in which we see the number 7. It’s worth a minute of our time to understand that this
number is usually associated with completeness. We have seven
days in a week. Often, in Revelation,
after seven “somethings” it is
So, is this then a sign of
“completeness?” The futurist argues
that this implies that this is the “complete”
history of the church. Extending that
argument to other sevens makes it seem rather
weak. (Pun intended)
It’s just possible that the
completeness means that these churches may stand for all others. They are
a picture of the “complete” church, not in chronological order as much as
through all times.
One final possibility: they may simply have been the seven churches
over which John had some authority, or for
which he had some special love.
Grace and peace from .......
Note the order here. We are told in Hebrews (Heb. 8:5) that the
tabernacle is the pattern of things in
heaven, and this is the “tabernacle” order of the Trinity: the Father (corresponding to the ark in the Holy of Holies), the Spirit (the
lampstands in the Holy Place) and the Son (the sacrifice on the altar).
He who was, is and is to come -- John
butchers the Greek here. It is
interesting to note that one author
(Barclay) thinks the butchered Greek a good reason to deny the authorship of
John the Apostle -- and then gives the
butchering theological significance.
For what John has done here is to
alter the grammar in two ways:
• First, he changes it so that the name of
God, I AM, remains unaltered by the demands of the Greek language.
• He also changes another tense to prevent
giving the impression that God can change.
The next name, the seven spirits, has
caused a lot of trouble for commentary writers (I notice that futurists tend to ignore the problem -- which may
be a sign of intelligence!) We are not used to thinking of “Seven Spirits of God.” There are these possibilities, among
• Again, it may simply imply
• It could mean (there is some textual support
for this in the Greek) that the Spirit is present equally among
the seven churches.
• It could be a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy
(Isa 11:2 NIV) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of
I suspect this is another “locked
And then, of course, Jesus Christ
(segue to next slide).