LETTERS TO 7 CHURCHES: PREPARING TO OVERCOME AND OPERATE IN POWER
The book of Revelation is an end-time book of Acts, revealing the acts of the Spirit through the end-time apostles and prophets, and the Praying Church under Jesus’ authority. These seven prophetic messages instruct us on how to prepare to partner with Him in His worldwide actions related to His second coming. Jesus knows best how to prepare His own Bride.
These letters define the truths and focus necessary to equip the Church to walk in love for Jesus. Our love is expressed as we obey His commands, heed His warnings, and believe His promises. There will be great challenges but even greater rewards.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev. 2:7)
This exhortation signaled that the truth being proclaimed was extremely important to Jesus. Second, it calls us to pay careful attention. Jesus is saying that there is more than what is immediately obvious. We must not be content with understanding only what is on the surface. Jesus calls us to diligently focus on pursuing the deeper truth being set before us.
He most often gave the exhortion to hear and have ears to hear related to eternal rewards. In Rev. chapters 2-3 every time Jesus spoke of one of 22 eternal rewards, He warned us to have ears to hear, because it takes supernatural insight to grasp the 22 rewards. When reading each reward, pray, “Lord, show me more.”
JESUS PROMISED TWENTY ETERNAL REWARDS
To eat from the tree of life in the midst of Paradise (2:7); to receive the crown of life (2:10); to not be hurt by the second death (2:11); to eat hidden manna (2:17); to receive a white stone (2:17); to receive a new name written on the stone (2:17); to have power over the nations (2:26); to receive the morning star (2:28); to receive white garments (Rev 3:5); to receive a name that is not blotted from the Book of Life (3:5); for Jesus to confess one’s name before the Father and angels (3:5); for one’s persecutors to worship before their feet (3:9); for one’s persecutors to know that Jesus loves them (3:9); to be made a pillar in God’s temple (3:12); to have God’s name, the New Jerusalem’s name, and Jesus’ new name written on them (3:12); to receive gold to make one rich (3:18); to receive white garments (3:18); to have anointed eyes to see 3:21).more (3:18); to eat with Jesus (3:20); and to sit on His throne.
Each message begins by Jesus calling attention to the specific aspect of His majesty seen in Revelation 1 that was most needed in each church’s situation. Sixteen different aspects of Jesus’ majesty are highlighted in Revelation 2-3.
It takes a focused determination to lay hold of the truths being referred to. We do not automatically respond in a deep and sustained way to them. It will take a tenacious commitment to maintain these truths in our lives long-term because of our propensity to lose touch with them.
It takes the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit to grasp it. The unaided mind of even a devoted believer will not be able to automatically comprehend the truth being set forth. Jesus is making it clear it is beyond our natural ability. Jesus wants us to ask the Spirit for help.
1 To … Ephesus write, “These things says He who holds the seven stars … who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands…” 8 To … Smyrna write, “These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life…” 12 To … Pergamos write, “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword…” 18 To … Thyatira write, “These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass…” 3:1 To … Sardis write, “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars…” 7 To … Philadelphia write, “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David…” 14 To … the Laodiceans write, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 2:1-3:14)
Jesus started by speaking to individuals (“he” who has an ear), then changed to addressing a group (the “churches”). There is both an individual and corporate response that the Spirit desires.