A STUDY ON THE LETTERS TO THE MESSENGERS OF THE CHURCHES
(ALL SCRIPTURES ARE FROM THE KJV BIBLE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
In the past, I have often had many people ask me what I feel the book of Revelation is about. The question is often asked in reference to whether there is a pre-trib, mid-trib or pos- trib rapture, or whether Christ's reign is a-millenial, pre-millennial, or post-millennial.
Although I have some very definite views on those issues, I would generally skirt the issue, and say, "I can't really get beyond the first three chapters of Revelation." And then I would explain to them that the letters to the churches should be heeded by Christians in their walk before God.
I have often studied those letters, but lately the Lord has been giving me new insight into these letters.
I have often heard of the letters in the book of Revelation referred to as letters to the seven churches. But upon closer examination, we can see that the letters were written to the "Angels" of the seven churches.
Although the Book of Revelation in general was written to the seven churches as a whole (Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne…[see also 1:11]), the messages in Chapters two and three are addressing the ANGELS of the seven Churches. Most of the time we have a tendency to identify an angel as a heavenly being. But some times, the word "Angel" is used in reference to a mere human being, who is a messenger:
32 aggelos- a messenger, an envoy, one who was sent, an angel, a messenger from God Strong's concordance uses an even more revealing definition of this word: 32 aggelos (ang'-el-os); from aggello [probably derived from 71; compare 34] (to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an "angel"; by implication, a pastor: KJV-- angel, messenger.
Here are a few verses where the word "Aggelos" is used in the New Testament:
Matt 11: 10 For this
is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27,)
Luke 7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Luke 9: 51 And it
came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly
set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
James 2: 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
I personally believe that while the book of Revelation as a whole is written to the Churches, chapters 2 and 3 are written to the leaders in the church, such as pastors, evangelists, teachers, prophets, or apostles.
I believe that those who are leaders, or those who bring forth the Word of God to the church can be identified in these letters. The interesting thing to be noticed is that these messengers are held in the Right Hand of Jesus:
Rev 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: Then we see that the seven stars that are in His Right Hand are the angels (or messengers) of the seven churches:
Rev 1: 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (KJV)
The fact that these "angels" are in the Right Hand of Jesus, reminds me of the scripture that says:
John 10: 27 My sheep
hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.(KJV)
I believe that these messages to the seven angels are messages to those who have been called to the ministry by the Lord. Whether a person in ministry is an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor or a teacher, they operate in the capacity of a messenger to the church.
I believe these letters are to those who are ministers in the church, and they are warnings to them to rightly divide the Word of God. In every case, the messenger is commended for his service to the Lord first, before he is reproved for that in which he is failing as a minister of God.
I believe that as we study these letters to the angels of the churches, we can see areas where different types of ministers succeed and where they fail in ministry. Where they succeed, they are commended by the Lord.
Where they fail, they are told to repent. If they don't repent, the consequences of their actions are written out in clear detail. If they do repent, then the outcome is that they will inherit wonderful and glorious rewards from the Lord.
I believe we need to keep in remembrance Paul's exhoratation which was given to ministers of the Word:
1 Cor 3: 10 According
to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have
laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take
heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.(KJV)
The Bible tells us in several places what the last days will be like.
2 Tim 3: 1 This know
also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV)
1 Tim 4: 1 Now the
Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from
the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
2 Tim 4:3 For the
time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own
lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
There is no doubt that this United States is fast slipping into moral decay. We can see these attributes that are listed above as prevalent in our society in general. But they are not only in our society; they are also running rampant in our churches, and the reason they are, is because of the compromised gospel that is being preached on the streets and in the pulpits.
The Word of God says that Jesus walks in the MIDST of the candlesticks.
He is in the church.
He knows what is happening.
He knows the things that are being taught to His flock.
He knows whether it is wood, hay, or stubble or Gold, Silver, or Precious Stones that are being built on His Foundation.
As we study the messages to each of the seven angels in Revelation 2 and 3, I believe that many of the things foretold in the above passages will be seen as pertaining to the fruit of ministries who condone error and allow compromise to creep into their message to the Body of Christ.
GOD'S WORD REMAINS TRUE.
The LAST DAYS may well be upon us. Yet in His Word, He promises us:
2 Chr 7: 13 If I shut
up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the
land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.(KJV)
I believe God is faithful to His promises. But to realize His promise to heal this land, the uncompromised Gospel needs to be preached once again.
Success in ministry isn't about how big our churches can be, or how elaborate our entertainment is, or how many speaking engagements we may have, or even how many crusades we conduct in a year. I believe true success in ministry is measured by our service to the Lord in integrity and Truth.
I believe true success in ministry is defined by a change in the world around us.
Paul and Silas were successful in their ministry. They were accused of turning the world upside down, because they were impacting the area by being messengers of the Gospel while walking in Integrity and Truth. Ultimately they died because of their success.
I believe that when a minister of the gospel walks uncompromisingly before God, God will heal his land.
Charles Finney, John Wesley, Johnathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and a host of other godly messengers through history saw their parts of the world healed, as they sought to walk before the Lord without compromise.
I believe the study of these messages to the messengers reveals how each of us as ministers of God's Word need to humble ourselves and pray, seek God's face, and turn from our wicked ways, IF WE TRULY WANT TO SEE THIS LAND TURN BACK TO GOD.
MANY WHO ARE APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, AND TEACHERS WILL HAVE THE MINDSET THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BUILD THEIR KINGDOM NO MATTER WHAT. THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS WHO WILL HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING FIRST TO THE MESSENGERS, AND THEN TO THE CHURCHES, AND WHO WILL BRING FORTH FRUIT FIT FOR REPENTANCE.
Each letter to a messenger ends with "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches".
I believe the Lord is saying that the messenger needs to be able to hear what the Spirit of God wants to say through him to prepare the Lord's bride for His Coming.
Too many of today's messengers parrot popular consensus. We need to be able to hear what the Lord would have us to speak, and to speak that Word faithfully.
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