READ : Revelation 1:17-20
Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to
take place after this. (v. 19)
Whose letters are these? First, those of the risen Jesus, each with an aspect of his
glory as seen in chapter 1. Second, they are letters from John to churches he knows, among
whom he has labored. Third, they are messages from the Holy Spirit. Each one includes
these words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Letters from heaven, from God, through the beloved apostle!
Why to seven churches? There were many more at that time in the Roman province of Asia.
But these were congregations especially known to John. A messenger from Patmos would start
at Ephesus and follow a roughly circular route to each of the others in turn. Each church
would hear every letter. The number seven speaks of completeness. These letters, taken
together, are God’s message to the church in all ages. Letters to us!
The letters are a stinging rebuke to our waywardness, our compromise with wickedness
and heresy, our complacency, our “leaving our first love.” They call us to repent. But
they also commend our faith, our patient endurance, our struggles against evil. And they
abound in wonderful promises to those who “overcome”: eating from the tree of life,
deliverance from death, a new name, authority over the nations, a place on the Lord’s
throne. Some time this week read all of them in chapters 2 and 3. They will search and
Father, let me read them as your letters to me. Amen.