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  • Question about the book of Revelation.

    When John was on the Island of Patmos and recieved his revelation from Jesus,
    how many churches were in existence?

  • #2
    Well we know Paul wrote to Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, the Collosians, and the Thessalonians. He also started the Antioch church. Possibly one more? That's 9 for sure in Paul's day. Add the six other churches from Revelation, that's 15. Paul healed that crippled guy in Lystra, he was stoned but returned later to strengthen disciples there, so I'm sure he had one there. He got some believers in Iconium and Berea, I'm sure they started one. I'm sure he went back to his hometown of Tarsus to preach, might have started one there. He raised the young man from the dead in Troas, I would assume a church was there because they were meeting in a room. I would guess 20-30... could be more.

    Comment


    • #3
      Assuming that Paul and his companions preached the gospel (and thus "planted" a church) in every city mentioned in Acts and beyond...
      1. Jerusalem
      2. Damascus
      3. Caesarea Maritima
      4. Tarsus
      5. Antioch (Syria)
      6. Seleucia Pieria
      7. Salamis
      8. Paphos
      9. Perga
      10. Antioch (Pisidia)
      11. Iconium
      12. Lystra
      13. Derbe
      14. Attalia
      15. (Alexandria) Troas
      16. Neapolis
      17. Philippi
      18. Thyatira
      19. Thessalonica
      20. Berea
      21. Athens
      22. Corinth
      23. Cenchreae
      24. Ephesus
      25. Assos
      26. Mitylene
      27. Chios
      28. Samos
      29. Miletus
      30. Cos
      31. Rhodes
      32. Patara
      33. Tyre
      34. Ptolemais
      35. Illyria Graeca
      36. Rome
      37. Smyrna
      38. Pergamum
      39. Sardis
      40. Philadelphia
      41. Laodicea


      To this count: About 40, via Paul, his immediate companions, or John.

      Don't forget that, in the first third of the book of Acts, a great number of Christians (apparently not including the Twelve apostles) left Jerusalem at the same time, dispersing into Judea and Samaria. Then, after Peter's experience with the Gentiles, and Paul's missionary efforts, the Twelve apostles (not including Peter, John and James) began to spread out from Jerusalem as well. There are also other missionaries named in Scripture, such as Barnabas, John Mark, Timothy, Silas, and Apollos. The above listing is limited to what Acts tells us about Paul's missionary efforts, and a few supplemental churches in Asia that are mentioned in the Revelation.

      The actual number of cities with church plants would have been in the hundreds by 65 AD, around the time John wrote the Revelation.
      To This Day

      Comment


      • #4
        OK, what I was getting to was that, there were more than 7 churches in existence when John received his revelation.

        So why did Jesus only mention 7 of the churches in the province of Asia in the book of Revelation to John?


        Is it that these churches in particular had problems that needed sorting? or was it that John had the revelation, when only 7 of the churches existed?

        (Rev 1:19 NIV) "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

        (Rev 1:20 NIV) The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.


        Do we have angels assigned over our church from the Lord Jesus Christ now days?

        Comment


        • #5
          The seven churches from the Revelation are all from a tight region in what is now Asia Minor.

          These seven churches are on a major route of the Roman Empire, shaped in a semi-circle (the seven churches are named in clock-wise order, beginning with Ephesus, which was closest to the island of Patmos).



          This route was a central point for spreading messages throughout the rest of the world. By sending the Revelation to these seven churches, the book was guaranteed to spread throughout the rest of the word (and thus to all of the other churches) far more quickly than if it was sent all the way to one end or another of the Roman Empire first before being copied and sent out to other regions.

          The above is the practical reasoning for why Christ had the Revelation sent to those seven churches.

          In addition, the seven churches represented various spiritual conditions a congregation could be in, from being loveless, truthless, faithless, wavering, prideful, faithful, etc. In other words, these seven churches were chosen because, together, they represented the entirety of the worldwide Church.

          Lastly, the specific issues each church was dealing with thematically parallel to the four overarching sections of the Revelation:
          • False Teachers = Ephesus (see 2.2, Christ commends the church for resisting false apostles), Sardis (see 3.3, repenting of false teachings), and Revelation 2-3 (these chapters emphasis on false teachers).
          • Apostate Israel = Smyrna (see 2.9, Christ rebukes false Jews), Philadelphia (see 3.9, Christ again rebukes false Jews), and Revelation 4-7 (apostate Israel, whom God is pouring out his judgment upon, is contrasted with true Israel, which is the Church).
          • Wicked King/False Prophet = Pergamum (see 2.14, symbolized by the wicked king Balak and his false prophet Balaam), Philadelphia (see 3.9, the reversal of roles, with wicked rulers being forced to submit to the righteous followers of Christ), and Revelation 8-14 (the ruling Beast, and his False Prophet, are described throughout these chapters).
          • Royal Harlot = Thyatira (see 2.20, symbolized by the harlot-queen Jezebel), Laodicea (see 3.17-18, analogized to being cast down like a harlot), and Revelation 15-22 (where the sinful harlot Babylon, representing apostate Israel, is contrasted with the righteous bride Jerusalem, representing true Israel).


          Do we have angels assigned over our church from the Lord Jesus Christ now days?
          In the Greek, the word translated as "angel" is angelos. This Greek word simply means "messenger", and is often-times used in Scripture to refer to human messengers. I believe that the seven "angels" (i.e. messengers) of the seven churches were just their human leaders ("pastors" we might call them now).
          To This Day

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Markedward,

            Do you know when the book of revelation was written. According to wiki...

            Early tradition says that John was banished to Patmos by the Roman authorities. This tradition is credible because banishment was a common punishment used during the Imperial period for a number of offenses. Among such offenses were the practices of magic and astrology.

            Prophecy was viewed by the Romans as belonging to the same category, whether Pagan, Jewish, or Christian. Prophecy with political implications, like that expressed by John in the book of Revelation, would have been perceived as a threat to Roman political power and order. Three of the islands in the Sporades were places where political offenders were banished (Pliny Natural History 4.69-70; Tacitus Annals 4.30).[5]

            According to early tradition, this book was composed near the end of Domitian's reign, around the year 95 AD. Domatian's reign was from 14 sept 81-18 sept 96 according to wiki?


            Originally posted by markedward View Post
            Assuming that Paul and his companions preached the gospel (and thus "planted" a church) in every city mentioned in Acts and beyond...

            The actual number of cities with church plants would have been in the hundreds by 65 AD, around the time John wrote the Revelation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by markedward View Post
              Assuming that Paul and his companions preached the gospel (and thus "planted" a church) in every city mentioned in Acts and beyond...
              1. Antioch (Pisidia)
              2. Antioch (Syria)
              3. Assos
              4. Athens
              5. Attalia
              6. Berea
              7. Caesarea Maritima
              8. Cenchreae
              9. Chios
              10. Corinth
              11. Cos
              12. Damascus
              13. Derbe
              14. Ephesus
              15. Iconium
              16. Illyria Graeca
              17. Jerusalem
              18. Laodicea
              19. Lystra
              20. Miletus
              21. Mitylene
              22. Neapolis
              23. Paphos
              24. Patara
              25. Perga
              26. Pergamum
              27. Philadelphia
              28. Philippi
              29. Ptolemais
              30. Rhodes
              31. Rome
              32. Salamis
              33. Samos
              34. Sardis
              35. Seleucia Pieria
              36. Smyrna
              37. Tarsus
              38. Thessalonica
              39. Thyatira
              40. Troas (Alexandria)
              41. Tyre
              Adding to this list from Acts, we find mention in the N.T. epistles of these additional churches being in existence during the 1st century A.D.
              • 42. Achaia
              • 43. Babylon
              • 44. Colosse
              • 45. Galatia
              • 46. Italia
              • 47. Macedonia

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by chad View Post
                Hi Markedward,

                Do you know when the book of revelation was written. According to wiki...
                Chad, there are two debatable viewpoints on the date of Revelation. One places it in the time of Domitian circa 95 AD, the other places it in the 60s, circa Nero. There is evidence for both, and it is a hotly and actively debated topic. If you do a query search, you can find several older threads discussing this, and providing to you much, much more evidence involving the debate than something wikipedia will provide. Check it out in those other threads, so we don't derail this one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by chad View Post
                  OK, what I was getting to was that, there were more than 7 churches in existence when John received his revelation.

                  So why did Jesus only mention 7 of the churches in the province of Asia in the book of Revelation to John?
                  I believe the 7 Church are a prophetic history of the Churches.
                  Ephesus - Apostolic Church - AD30-100
                  Smyrna - Persecuted Church - AD100-313
                  Pergamos - State Church - AD313-590
                  Thyatira - Medieval Church - AD590--1517
                  Sardis - Reformed Church - 1517-1790
                  Philadelphia - Missionary Church - 1730-1900
                  Laodiceans - Apostate Church - 1900-????

                  So I believe there is a reason for the mentioning only 7 Churches. The number 7 refers to completeness. So again, these 7 churches gives us a prophetic history of the Church state. An example would be the last church of Laodicea... I believe this church to be the chief characteristic of the church today.
                  BelieversNotes.com - Bible Study Notes

                  For it is better that he say to you, 'Come up here,' Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. ~ Proverbs 25:7

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    However, eisogetically applying the attributes of each church to time-periods doesn't really work, since almost all attributes used to describe each of the 7 churches can still be found and applied in today's churches.

                    To fit with a time-period application, requires ending of specific attributes given to specific prior-era churches....there has been no endings though.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by David Taylor View Post
                      However, eisogetically applying the attributes of each church to time-periods doesn't really work, since almost all attributes used to describe each of the 7 churches can still be found and applied in today's churches.

                      To fit with a time-period application, requires ending of specific attributes given to specific prior-era churches....there has been no endings though.
                      Like my post said.... it is the chief characteristic of that church period. Today we live in an Apostate period... it does not mean that all Churches are apostate but that it is the Chief characteristic of the state of the Church.
                      BelieversNotes.com - Bible Study Notes

                      For it is better that he say to you, 'Come up here,' Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. ~ Proverbs 25:7

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chad View Post
                        OK, what I was getting to was that, there were more than 7 churches in existence when John received his revelation.

                        So why did Jesus only mention 7 of the churches in the province of Asia in the book of Revelation to John?
                        There are two answers:

                        1) the 7 churches are symbolic of all churches, since 7 is symbolic of completion

                        2) John had a particular guiding role among the churches of Asia Minor

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chad View Post
                          OK, what I was getting to was that, there were more than 7 churches in existence when John received his revelation.

                          So why did Jesus only mention 7 of the churches in the province of Asia in the book of Revelation to John?

                          Is it that these churches in particular had problems that needed sorting? or was it that John had the revelation, when only 7 of the churches existed?

                          (Rev 1:19 NIV) "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

                          (Rev 1:20 NIV) The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

                          Do we have angels assigned over our church from the Lord Jesus Christ now days?
                          Hi Chad,

                          The letters describe conditions that occur not in one particular age of church history, but throughout the ages in time.

                          Blessings,
                          RW

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by David Taylor View Post
                            • 42. Achaia
                            • 43. Babylon
                            • 44. Colosse
                            • 45. Galatia
                            • 46. Italia
                            • 47. Macedonia
                            Hm, Babylon maybe. The rest were provinces of the Roman Empire, not specific cities. The "church of Galatia" would have included several individual churches. This is why the whole of my list consists of cities, rather than regions.
                            To This Day

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by thedee View Post
                              Like my post said.... it is the chief characteristic of that church period. Today we live in an Apostate period... it does not mean that all Churches are apostate but that it is the Chief characteristic of the state of the Church.
                              With regards to the information I gave above, it's either hard historical facts (the location of the churches on a major messenger-route), or verifiable, testable ideas (the application of the seven letters' themes to the four over-arching sections of the book itself). The claim that the seven churches represent seven eras of Church history is totally speculative and distorting of the facts.

                              First, it requires dismissing the historical application of these seven letters to the seven actual churches John was told to write to. In some of the letters Christ promises to "come soon", either in judgment or in rescue. This makes a lot of sense in light of the persecution those churches were enduring at that time, but these promises are impossible to pin down to the alleged "seven church periods".

                              Second, the process of drawing parallels between each of the seven churches and seven eras of Christian history is totally subjective. Sure, Smyrna is described as being persecuted, but so are Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, and Philadelphia. Or, Why does you consider 1790-1900 AD to be the "missionary church"? Have not missionaries existed since the time of the apostles? Are there not missionaries existing even now? It is simply unhistorical to claim that the "missionary church" is the defining characteristic from 1790-1900, when essentially the entire Church in the first-century AD consisted of missionaries. And why is 590-1517 considered the "papal church", when the papacy existed before that and continues to exist even now? And why is 1517-1790 considered the "reformed church" when Reformationist denominations still exist and are still making reforms in relation to the Catholic church and to each other?

                              The correlation between the seven churches and Christian history is nothing short of hit-and-miss guesswork. Even more so, it's incredibly Eurocentric. It is wholly focused upon Christian history as it moved from Jerusalem out into Europe and over to the Americas. It completely ignores Christian history of Asia, Africa, and later, Australia. It's speculative, it's unhistorical, and worst of all, it has absolutely no Scriptural basis for its claim.

                              On the other hand, I do believe the seven churches are symbolically described with imagery from seven eras of Old Testament history... and, as with the information I gave in my post earlier, this information is testable and verifiable. (It doesn't require skipping over portions of history, or ignoring history from two-thirds of the world). I wrote a blog post on it here.
                              To This Day

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