—  Introduction  —

Untold numbers of professing Christians have been taught, as I was, that the seven churches of Revelation are somehow related to the body of Christ. Some say they are merely representative churches of the one body that have grievously erred and are being warned. Other regard them as seven churches chosen out of the body of Christ to represent seven consecutive periods of church history. Perhaps the power of contrast between the seven churches to whom Paul wrote, and the seven churches to whom John wrote, will supply some answers.                


The Lord Jesus has revealed the necessity of Christians standing together in walk and doctrine because of the effect it will have on the unbeliever, for good or ill. It is found in His high priestly prayer in John 17, beginning with vs. 20, "Neither pray I for these [the apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAS SENT ME." Here is a plea from the Son for a unity among His own that will help pave the way for the lost to find their way to the cross.

But the Lord doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say in vs. 21, "…that they all (apostles and converts) may be one; as thou Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT THOU HAS SENT ME, AND HAST LOVED THEM AS THOU HAS LOVED ME."

The Scriptures are very clear on this: In response to His Son’s request, the Father has given the church a supernatural unity that can never be taken from us, nor be improved. BUT, for it to work, for it to have a salutary effect on the unbelieving world, it must have something from us. But what is it? Please read this carefully:

The spiritual unity that the Father has given us is NOT AN OBSERVABLE ONE, as wonderful as it is. Though all believers are one in Christ, having been "raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" this sublime oneness is meaningless to a lost and dying world. What the Father and the Son must have from us is what the early church had, a visible, unconcealed in-step-with-one-another-unity that unsaved men and women can see and judge for themselves — and be moved by our unity to receive the truth.

With so much riding on our presenting a VISIBLE united front to a splintered, war-driven, idolatrous, increasingly dangerous and chaotic world, how can we Christians do less than bend every effort to "speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among [us]; but that [we] be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" in matters of doctrine, faith and practice? (see 1 Cor. 1:10)




Are These 14 Churches All Members Of the Body of Christ?

"WHEREOF I AM MADE A MINISTER according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfill the Word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saint…and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery [i.e. Jew and Gentile believers now walking as one new man in Christ apart from all religious and racial distinction]…to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." Signed: The Apostle Paul.  (Col. 1:25-26; Eph. 3:9-10)


Revelation 1:1-2 — "The Revelation [the unveiling] of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass…"


Verses 9 & 10 are often glossed over and the emphasis put on vs. 19, 

yet vs. 19 cannot be clearly understood apart from vss 9 & 10.


1:9 - "I John, who also AM (note, not going to be, but "am") your brother & companion in the tribulation" (NAS, NKJ, Scofield’s margin, The Ryrie study Bible; Bullinger’s companion bible, etc.). John, by the Holy Spirit, was taken spiritually off the Isle of Patmos (a Roman penal colony on a tiny island located in the Mediterranean Sea just off the mainland of Asia) and was projected in a prophetic vision into the seven year period known as "the tribulation." This is confirmed in the next verse.

1:10 "I [John] was in the Spirit on "The Lord’s day," lit. "the day of the Lord" (see Isa. 2:12; 13:6-13) not Sunday, as some suppose, Sunday being a Teutonic (pagan) term for "the day of the sun." Instead, it is "the day of the Lord" - a 7 year interval between the Rapture of the church and the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.

During the first half of the tribulation, because of a "covenant of peace" (i.e. treaty) that antichrist will make with the nation Israel (Dan. 11:21, 32), the first three and a half years (42 months) of the tribulation will be a time of comparative "peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

In verse 19, John is instructed to write the things WHICH HE HAS SEEN (past tense), the things WHICH ARE (present tense, concerning the seven assemblies in the tribulation into which John has been transported in a vision (1:9-10), AND, future tense, "the things "WHICH MUST BE HEREAFTER, i.e. those things following chapters two and three. See Rev. 4:1.

The second half of the tribulation begins with chapter six. It is during this 42 month time slot that twenty one plagues will be poured out upon the inhabitants of the world in unearthly judgment and divine retribution - twenty one unspeakable, torturous calamities, unmatched by any other period in the history of fallen man. The Lord Jesus foretold of these times when men’s hearts would fail for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth…"and men shall seek death, and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them" (Lu. 21:26; Rev.9:6).

The last reference in the Bible to the seven assemblies to whom John wrote is found in Rev. 22:16: "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things IN THE CHURCHES. I am the offspring David, the bright and morning star."


If the saints of the seven churches of John are members of the body of Christ, as the majority of preachers believe and teach, what are these churches doing in the tribulation? It says of them, "And they overcame him (antichrist) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11; cp. with Rev. 6:9-10; Daniel 11:32). According to 2 Thess. 2:7-12, the church Christ is building today will have been caught out of this world before the first half of the seven year period of the tribulation begins. How, then, could the 7 churches be part of the body of Christ which, by that time, will have arrived in heaven via the Rapture. (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-18)