Question re the seven churches in Rev 2-3


Why did the churches named in Rev 2-3 have different doctrines if they were supposed to be singing from the same hymn sheet?


I don’t know that they had different doctrines. The historical look at the churches is that they all had differing errors and were all churches that were actually in place. There is a subset of textual critics and criticisms that looks at the churhces as prophetic to the overal church through the centuries since the time of Christ. Many of these criticisms are dismissed by mainline theologains. The requirement to take such a view is an extreme form of dispensationalism.
How far are you from Battle Creek Michigan? not in miles in theology?


“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Rev 2:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. Rev 2: 12-16

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.] 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their[g] deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “Now to you I say, and[h] to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. Rev 2: 18-25

According to Gods Word these churches had different doctrines.


According to God’s word, these Churches were teaching errors–that’s why God was promising punishment to these Churches. Notice that the Church at Philadelphia receives nothing but praise in the letter to it, but the other Churches are receiving brow-beatings for their allowance of syncretism (harlotry is a symbol for the mixing of religious systems).



Doctrine is the same as teaching and it’s true that the Lord Jesus was correcting false teaching in the churches.

What im trying to find out is does the fact that these churches had different doctines/teachings mean that they were independent of each other. I mean they were independent churches with their own leadership and that they were not under one leader like a pope.


Not quite. These members of these churches were bedeviled with heresies, but that doesn’t mean the churches themselves were teaching it.


It is also important to remember that the “seven” churches represent the church in its entirety. Likewise, these churches were taught the original teachings of Jesus through the apostles. Even during the time of the apostles there were false teachings. The Judaizers are a great example. In this case the Council of Jerusalem by way of Peter’s declaration concerning circumcision set the rule for the entire church. Leadership and authority at the top has always been in place.

Today we have the papacy and we still have dissident teachers within the church. Those that teach heresy do not set the standard. They are instead rebels against the standard of teaching that we must all accept and follow.

I hope this helps.


I think the fact that John is writing them is an evidence that they were under the general leadership of what would become a metripolitan or patriarch. In the early church and the Eastern Churches the metropolitan functions in a radical way that is different then the Pope of the west.
One might look at these doctrines as the errors a local church might get into. That is, in america by and large the leaning is toward the newpresentation of the Gospel. In one of the States in Brazil it is the holding fast to the traditions received. Taken to far by either we find errors.

Cultivate now zeal for prayer. For in zeal for prayer we find nothing other than zeal for obtaining God himself.


You must take the approach in scripture that the scripture is written to you! The seven churches are you. Which one are you most like? Have you lost your love? Has your heart grown cold?

The number seven is complete. Each church has some spirituality. This will help you when you examine yourself.

You can spend your time trying to figure out what the churches were like, who those people were, and what exact doctrines they taught. You can spend ten lifetimes doing that and it won’t do anything for anybody.

What is God saying to you about your Church when you read that text? Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Your are a Church. The story of these churches can really help you examine yourself. You can recogize things in you that you can change. Revelation - You cannot change anyone but you. Live the simple message of the gospel - Love one another, as Jesus loved us.


The Lord Jesus was addressing actual churches, real people. Rev 2-3 gives us historical biblical evidence of what the 1st century churches were like.

These churches had doctrinal differences and there were false teachers in these churches. Were these false teachers leaders, well were teachers like Paul, Timothy, Silas etc church leaders. So i don’t see why the teachers of these false doctrines in the churches mentioned in Rev 2-3 weren’t church leaders as well. Just because a person was teaching false doctrine doesn’t mean they weren’t a church leader.

Remember what Peter did by his example of separation from the Gentile Believers, see Gal 2:11-21. Peter was in fact practicing false teaching by his example and was Peter not one of the leaders in the 1st century church?


Are you a real Church? Are you a real person? Did I say they were fake chuches?

You can look at these churches and apply them to yourself to learn. If you find issues with these churches, guess where the issues are? In you.

Brother, I see issues because I am full of issues. Thank God for Mercy and Grace. Thank God for the book of Revelations to help me with my issues.


I agree with you that there are important lessons for Christians to learn from Rev 2-3 and in all the Scriptures. However im looking at the historical evidence of Rev 2-3 in this tread to find out if the 1st century churches were independent of each other. This is important re the idea that one man was in control/leadership of all these churches.

What Rev 2-3 does clearly show is that the Lord Jesus was the head of all these churches and that is why He commended, corrected & chastised them.


Because it has sinful human members. Scandals have always existed in the Church, just as they have existed outside of the Church. This should not cause us to lose hope in the Church. God’s mysterious plan requires the wheat and the weeds to be side by side in the Church until the end of time.

Matt. 13:24-30 He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”




If they were totally independent, why would John, a single apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit be addressing all seven. There certainly must have been more of a connection between them than you are trying to imply. The implication would also imply that Paul and his helpers went around founding Churches that received a different message from them in each instance. Paul certainly held to one set of teachings not many and different.


It’s the Lord Jesus who is addressing the churches, John is just the messenger. Remember God used a donkey to speak to Balaam and i don’t mean to use this example to show disrespect to John. Im illustrating the point that it’s God that addresses people but He uses people or even animals as His messengers.

As for your example of Paul, yes i agree that Paul never taught opposing/false messages but the truth. In Paul’s letters are many examples of him trying to correct error’s in the churches. Paul was used by God to plant churches but he didn’t control them he left that to the leaders in the churches. These churches were independent of each other.


Why do you think that they were independant of each other? Do you mean in the modern american christian church sense or do you mean united in doctrine but with individual leaders who pastored each church.
How do we know of the truth in how the early Church though and managed itself?
Was it like modern american christianity? like the amish? like the pentacostals? was it like Lutheranism? Does it matter?

God Bless


No, it doesn’t matter! :eek:

The Seven Churches are the 7 spiritualities of the church (i.e. you). Which church are you? If you try to put these churches off into a history lesson or onto another person, it does nothing.

Please read Rev 2-3 as if it were written to you and about you! Only then will it make any sense.

Then we can talk about the horses in Revelations. They are not coming - they are already here.


Personalize it is not the only effacatious form of Textual criricism Mike.
Look to source criticism for showing that Luke was asserting the divinity of Christ from the beginning. In the end of each form of criticism we must do this last step and perosnalize it. That does not make the attempt by the OP to open up other forms invalid.
Is that dog on your webpage really that cute?


Yes, the dog is that cute and you are right. You can talk about these scriptures in various ways. My question is what fruit does it produce from the way you are looking at it?


Don’t know till we finnish looking at it, do we now.
Keep looking. Then as it is personal apply it. If you really must talk about it, get your confessors permission first.

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