EPHESIANS 6, THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD & THE 7 CHURCHES OF EPHASUS

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JEREMIAH 1: 5-8

Then the word of the LORD

came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the

belly I knew thee; and before

thou camest forth out of the

womb I sanctified thee, and I

ordained thee a prophet unto

the nations. Then said I, Ah,

Lord GOD! behold, I cannot

speak: for I am a child. But

the LORD said unto me, Say

not, I am a child: for thou

shalt go to all that I shall

send thee, and whatsoever I

command thee thou shalt

speak. Be not afraid of their

faces: for I am with thee to

deliver thee, saith the LORD

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REVELATION 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

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. Revelation

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REVELATION 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

——————

REVELATION 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

19:3 And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation

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Map of western Anatolia showing the island Patmos and the locations of the cities housing the seven churches

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. The Apostle Paul spent two and a half years here on his 3rd missionary journey, and in Acts 19, a riot broke out over the drop in sales of the silver models of Diana’s temple. According to an early tradition John replaced Timothy towards the end of the first century as leader of the Ephesian church, and probably wrote his first epistle for them. The excavations done by Austrians are considered to be the largest excavated ruins in the world.

The Seven Churches of Revelation, also known as The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse and The Seven Churches of Asia (referring to the Roman province of Asia, not the entire continent), are seven major churches of Early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation. In early part of the Revelation, on the Greek island of Patmos, Jesus Christ instructs his servant John of Patmos, through an angelic intermediary, to: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamum, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” [1]

“Churches” in this context refers to the community or local congregations of Christians living in each city, and not merely to the building or buildings in which they gathered for worship. [2][3]

The seven churches are located in:

Ephesus (Metropolis of Ephesus)

Smyrna (Metropolis of Smyrna)

Pergamum (Metropolis of Pergamum)

Thyatira

Sardis (See of Sardis)

Philadelphia (Metropolis of Philadelphia)

and Laodicea, near Denizli (see Laodicean Church)

The seven churches of Asia in stained glass in York Minster by John Thornton

1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church known for having laboured hard and not fainted, and separating themselves from the wicked; admonished for having forsaken its first love (2:4)

2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church admired for its tribulation and poverty; forecast to suffer persecution (2:10)

3. Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church located at ‘Satan’s seat’; needed to repent of allowing false teachers (2:16)

4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church known for its charity, whose “latter works are greater than the former”; held the teachings of a false prophetess (2:20)

5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that has a good name; cautioned to fortify itself and return to God through repentance (3:2-3)

6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church steadfast in faith, that had kept God’s word and endured patiently (3:10)

7. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church that was lukewarm and insipid (to God) (3:16)

The letters follow a common pattern. For example: the Lord first addresses each church and identifies himself, [4]

then defines things that he knows about the church in question. [5] After this a challenge or reproach is given, [6]

followed by a promise. [7] In all seven cases the admonition is included, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, [8] although sometimes this comes before the promise and sometimes after.

Although the letters differ in length in accord with the needs of each community, all conclude with an appeal to hold fast and to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Each church is promised that everyone who conquers will be rewarded by Christ.

Some historicists typically interpret the seven churches as representing seven different periods in the history of the Western Church from the time of Paul until the return of Jesus Christ. [9]

Scofield states that “these messages by their very terms go beyond the local assemblies mentioned.” [10] He is of the opinion that the letters have a prophetic purpose disclosing the seven phases of the spiritual history of the Church. Other writers, such as Clarence Larkin, [11]

Henry Hampton Halley, [12] Merrill Unger, [13] and William M. Branham [14]

also have posited the view that the seven churches preview the history of the global Church.

Mosaic in St Mark’s Basilica of the seven angels

Historicism has been criticized by the Eastern Orthodox Fr. Dimitri Cozby, who writes that historicists take a greatly oversimplified view of church history: “Since dispensationalism is Protestant in origin its ‘Church history’ is strictly Western. The dispensations take into account almost nothing of Orthodox history after the period of the early councils which we share with the West.” [15]

Chapters 2-3 of the Revelation has specific messages for each of the seven churches. The message of each of the seven letters is directed to the angel of the particular church that is mentioned.

Origen [16] explains that these “angels” are the guardian angels of the churches, a view upheld by Henry Alford. But Epiphanius [17] explicitly rejects this view, and, in accordance with the imagery of the passage, explains it of the bishops.

John sees a vision of the Son of Man, who walks among seven lampstands and has seven stars in his right hand. Revelation 1:20 states that “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” The comparison of a teacher to a star is scriptural. [18]

Augustine of Hippo’s reason for interpreting angels of the churches as the prelates of the church is that St. John speaks of them as falling from their first charity which is not true of the angels. [19][20] Others would say that the falling away relates to the churches, not to the messengers, as each of the seven letters conclude with the words “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word for angels (άγγελος[1] ) is not only used for heavenly angels, but also used for human messengers, such as John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10 ,Mark 1:2 ,Luke 7:27 ) and God’s prophets (Revelation 22:8-9 ) [21] C.I. Scofield has noted that “The natural explanation of the ‘messengers’ is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle … but they figure any who bear God’s messages to a church.”

Aliearia

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