2021 Issues

In the Beginning

Seven Churches of Revelation When Jesus speaks, we all wish to listen. Where would we get better advice, anywhere? Imagine if Jesus spoke a message directly to our own ecclesia. Who would not wish to listen attentively, eagerly, thoughtfully, earnestly? And then to apply that advice promptly to our own Christian life? That is the blessing accorded to seven Christian communities in Asia Minor in the closing years of the first century of the Christian era. John the Apostle was the channel []

Ephesus, The First Church

Works, Labor, and Patience “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” (Revelation 2:1). by David Wittbrodt In the first three chapters of Revelation, the apostle John addresses seven churches in sequential order. Historically, each of these churches was a city in Asia Minor. If we were to visit these churches today, the ancient city of Ephesus would []

The Church of Smyrna

Period Two “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The words of the first and the last, whodied and came to life” (Revelation 2:8. Texts are from the Revised Standard Version). by Jeffrey Earl About 40 miles north of the ruins of Ephesus lies the modern city of Izmir on the Aegean coast in western Turkey. The city has an ancient history dating back to the initial settlement around the 11th century BC. It changed hands numerous times due []

The Trials of Thyatira

Church Four “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (Revelation 2:19). by David Rice Thyatira was a bleak period of church history, from 1157 to 1517. It was not bleak in warm Christian discipleship but bleak with burdens and trials of faith upon the followers of Jesus. This was the period of greatest dominance by the papacy, represented by Jezebel, the wicked queen who []